Denmark Talks (Reluctantly) About a Ban on Circumcising Boys

“It’s an unnecessary violation,” he said, adding: “I’ve been passive on this issue, because I recognize there’s a huge challenge for the Jewish community here. I don’t want to bother them and make life difficult for them.”

Experts estimate that 38 percent of men worldwide are circumcised, half of them for religious reasons.

Denmark is an increasingly secular country — its percentage of self-declared nonbelievers grew to 48 percent last year from 31 percent in 2011. But religion in general, and Islam in particular, has often been a source of public controversy.

Denmark Talks (Reluctantly) About a Ban on Circumcising Boys
Denmark Talks (Reluctantly) About a Ban on Circumcising Boys

On Thursday, Parliament approved a law to banthe wearing of full-face coverings in public, mostly seen as directed at the Islamic veil. And the immigration minister recently stirred controversy by suggesting that fasting Muslims were a danger to society.

Christian practices have also been called into question when some priests have objected to free abortion services or refused to perform weddings where one party isdivorced.

The United States Embassy in Denmark has raised concerns about the anti-circumcision proposal “from the perspective of freedom of religion,” according to a statement given by its first secretary and public affairs officer, Daniel J. Ernst, to the daily newspaper Politiken. “While the American government can’t tell Denmark how to legislate on male circumcision, it is making its position clear,” he wrote.

To Nima Zamani, a radio host born in Denmark to Iranian refugees, the issue of circumcision is personal. He was circumcised as a child because his parents were expecting at the time to return to Iran and not doing so, he said, would have been considered shameful there.

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