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Iceland, Poland, Moves to Outlaw Circumcision and Ritual Slaughter

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European Jewish Association (EJA) Chairman Rabbi Margolin in discussion with the Icelandic ambassador to Brussels.

Jews and Muslims have made frantic representations to the Icelandic government to halt legislation outlawing circumcision, and to the Polish government to stop the outlawing of the inhumane and barbaric ritual slaughter of live animals—known as Shechita (“kosher”) in Judaism and Halaal in Islam—all practices which respectively—which are intrinsic to both these Middle Eastern desert religions.

A report in the Jerusalem-based Times of Israel quoted “Jewish and Muslim leaders in Iceland” as saying that they “have defended their communities’ rights to perform circumcision in the face of a proposed law to ban the practice as a violation of human rights.”

Rabbi Avi Feldman of the Chabad Jewish Center, who last month became Iceland’s first permanent rabbi in decades, said in a statement that “circumcision is “a core Jewish practice that serves as a bedrock of Jewish life.”

The Times of Israel went on to quote one Imam Salmann Tamimi, speaking during “Friday services at a prayer space above a home goods store,” in Reykjavik, that “circumcision was important to Muslims but even more so to Jews. This is an attack on all religion and especially Judaism,” Tamimi said.

Imam Salmann Tamimi speaking during “Friday services at a prayer space above a home goods store,” in Reykjavik.

Under the proposed law, the circumcision of boys would be viewed as equal to female genital mutilation and punishable by up to six years in prison. Circumcision for medical reasons would still be allowed.

If the law passes, Iceland will become the first European country to ban the practice.

“This is fundamentally about not causing unnecessary harm to a child,” said Silja Dogg Gunnarsdottir, lawmaker for the centrist Progressive Party, who introduced the bill this month.

The proposed law calls circumcision a violation of human rights “since boys are not able to give an informed consent of an irreversible physical intervention.”

Iceland has a population of 340,000, who are overwhelmingly Lutheran, Odinist or atheist, with an estimated 200 Jews and about 1,100 Muslims.

The European Jewish Association (EJA) has made a formal request to Icelandic Embassy in Brussels, with Chairman Rabbi Margolin to halt the law, and said that they would be speaking “directly with Icelandic Parliamentarians and with the Committee responsible in Iceland in the short weeks ahead.”

“The import of such legislation ever becoming law is that it sets precedence for other European nations, and normalises the branding of the entire Jewish population as “criminals” for performing this important, vital and precious rite of ours. It cannot and will not be allowed to happen,” Rabbi Margolin said.

At the same time, the Polish parliament—already in trouble with the Jews for passing a law criminalizing anyone saying Poles were responsible for the “Holocaust” (a law restricting freedom of speech which is based directly on Israeli law)—is still debating a law that will halt the export of “kosher meat.”

The 48-page bill on animal welfare is neither focused on the ritual slaughter of animals — which in 2013 was banned in Poland but legalized again due to a high court ruling in 2014 – nor does it propose to ban the custom anew, according to the European Jewish Association.

But it does propose “restrictions on exporting kosher meat from Poland, which would affect a very large part of the Jewish communities in Europe,” the EJA said in a statement.

Polish kosher and halal abattoirs are a major source of meat for retailers across the European Union and beyond.

Violation of the restrictions, which the EJA did not specify, may lead to four years in jail.

The bill also would prohibit slaughtering animals when they are “in an unnatural state,” a stipulation that is thought to mean when they are standing up.

This “makes it very difficult to perform kosher slaughter due to some kashrut laws that forbid to apply any pressure on the knife to protect the animal from unnecessary pain,” EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said. Preventing this pressure “is not possible when the animal is standing, and its head is leaning heavily on the knife,” he added.

In both Judaism and in Islam, animals must be conscious when their necks are cut, and a rabbi or imam must pray over them while they painfully bleed to death in order to make it “holy” according to their religious law.

The practice is well-known to be cruel beyond measure, and all animal welfare groups around the world are unanimous in their opposition to it.

The Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for example, says that “slaughter without prior stunning has been scientifically demonstrated to cause unnecessary suffering,” and that their position is that “governments should take more substantial action by eliminating the practice in Canada.”

In the UK, the SPCA says that “all animals should be treated humanely at the time of killing and therefore be stunned prior to slaughter” and points out that even though “current law requires animals to be stunned before slaughter—rendering them insensible to pain until death supervenes,” the British government has granted “exemptions are allowed that permit non-stun slaughter for religious purposes, i.e. Muslim and Jewish communities.”

Well-known militant animal rights group PETA—which has in the past produced film evidence showing the full barbarity of animal ritual slaughter—has also called for the practice to be outlawed.

* The principle of “ritual slaughter” has however become most prominent in the public’s mind with the gruesome “beheading” videos made by Islamist fanatics around the world. This principle of cutting the neck of an “impure” victim is drawn directly from the religious law on “ritual slaughter,” a fact which the controlled media has always covered up.


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