Eurocrats row back on push to ban the brit
JEWISH AND Muslim groups have succeeded in reversing a Council of Europe resolution that condemned ritual circumcision of boys.
Backtracking on a two-year-old resolution condemning the practice, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Pace) passed a new statement last Thursday reasserting its commitment to protecting religious freedom.
Although Pace resolutions are not binding on parliament, the announcement was welcomed by Jewish and Muslim groups alike.
In a statement, the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) said it was “pleased with the council’s recognition that all religions should be responsible for determining how their respective religion should be practised in public”.
Meretz MK Esawi Frej, who represented the Knesset at Thursday’s Pace session, told the Jerusalem Post that it was acceptable to debate the pros and cons of circumcision, but that oppo- nents “should fight through education and public relations and not try to force their opinions through legislation”.
CER President, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, said that his group was cooperating with some Muslim communities on issues of religious freedoms and was “building new coalitions with Muslim religious organisations.”
Their work is far from over: “With the influx of more Muslims to Europe, we expect further backlashes in the curbing of religious freedoms in member states,” Rabbi Goldschmidt said.
Recent years have seen ritual circumcision of boys, and kosher or halal slaughter under attack in Europe, especially by right-wing populist political movements that are strongly anti-Muslim.
Two years ago, after the passage of the initial, non-binding resolution, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland told the CER that the council would never ban Jewish ritual circumcision of boys.