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July 31, 2012 12:06 pm

European Jewish Communities Unite to Defend Circumcision’s Legality

avatar by Atara Arbesfeld

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Minor protest in front of Washington Convention Center in connection with the American Association of Pediatricians annual meeting. Photo: dbking.

On Monday it was announced that Austria’s Jewish community (IKG) will unite with the German and Swiss Jewish communities to advocate keeping religious circumcision legal, according to the AFP.

IKG president Oskar Deutsch told the Austria Press Agency that the organization will be meeting with Jewish communities in Germany and Switzerland to work towards ensuring that that religious circumcision will no longer be banned.

The move comes after Markus Wallner, the governor of Austria’s Vorarlberg province, recently conveyed a message to Austrian hospitals not to perform any circumcisions, including religious ones. Deutsch told the AFP that he was confident that despite Wallner, the religious practice will continue to be permitted in Austria and that “a law to protect religious circumcision for men will be passed in Germany.”

Last month a German court in the city of Cologne ruled circumcision illegal on the grounds that it is considered to cause serious bodily harm to the infant. In contrast, MPs across Germany have protested the ruling and called on the government to protect religious circumcision.

Following that incident, several hospitals in Switzerland declared that they would temporarily suspend circumcisions as well.

On Friday Austrian Jews, Muslims, and Christians joined together to appeal to the government to “issue a clear commitment to religious freedom and to the legality of male circumcision.”

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