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Politics
07.02.2012 19:37
HUMAN RIGHTS, CHILDREN, ISLAM, REACTION
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Ombudsman under Fire from Muslims for Opposing Circumcision (adds)

response by jewish community in para 11-12

Ljubljana, 7 February (STA) - Slovenian Muslims have expressed outrage over the Human Rights Ombudsman's opinion that circumcision for non-medical reasons is a violation of children's rights. The opinion was also rejected by the Jewish Community of Slovenia.

The Ombudsman's Office, which had requested an expert opinion on the matter, said last week that the circumcision of young boys was an unacceptable intervention in a child's body and thus contained elements of a criminal act.

The Islamic Community, the main religious group of Slovenian Muslims, stressed on Monday that the Ombudsman's statement held elements of religious discrimination and could lead to the stigmatisation of the affected children and the spread of religious intolerance.

The Muslim Community meanwhile said that the Ombudsman's statement could generate a favourable atmosphere in society for the spread of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

Besides spreading Islamophobia, the Ombudsman's move might lead to other negative consequences, like "charlatanism at home, meaning that health rights of Muslim boys would be seriously undermined", the community said.

Although agreeing with the Ombudsman that falsely reporting medical reasons for circumcision was not acceptable, the community believes that the doctors falsifying them had "purely humanitarian motives", as most of the cases involve families unable to pay for circumcision.

The Muslim Community moreover wondered whether it would be so hard to imagine that Slovenia's Health and Disability Insurance Institute (ZZZS) would cover the costs of circumcision for its Muslim clients, even without medical reasons.

They wonder why this is unacceptable in Slovenia, while it is normal that "the ZZZS covers the costs of abortions without medical reasons".

The Islamic Community meanwhile noted that circumcision was not considered an injury or violence against children anywhere in the world. Indeed, a number of surveys conducted by the UN and the World Health Organisation have proved that circumcision reduces the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

"This is why circumcision is endorsed as a preventive health measure in a number of countries," the community said.

A negative response also came today from the Jewish Community of Slovenia, which said that the ethics argument used by the anonymous initiator of the review and the Slovenian Medical Ethics Commission indirectly denied morality to the Jewish religion.

Labelling the "criminal persecution idea" an absurdity and unprecedented in civilised democratic countries, the community stressed that circumcision had been an important part of the Jewish religion and tradition ever since Abraham, and threatened to take the case to the Constitutional Court or European Court of Human Rights.

gz/nd/sm/mab
07.02.2012 19:37

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