OSLO, Norway, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- A promise by Norway's health minister to draft new regulations on circumcision has Jewish leaders worried a ban could be in the works.
Health Minister Brent Hoie, who promised to have a proposal on the table next spring, did not go into details about what he is considering, TheLocal.no reported Tuesday. But Anne Lindboe, the Norwegian children's ombudswoman, is pushing for a ban on circumcisions not considered medically necessary, including ritual circumcision practiced by Jews and Muslims.
Norway has a very small Jewish community with about 700 Jews living in Oslo and about seven circumcisions on male babies every year in the entire country. About 2,000 Muslim infants are circumcised annually.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, general director of the European Jewish Association, told the Israeli news agency Arutz Sheva that a total ban on circumcision would be "Jewish exclusion." Ervin Kohn, president of Oslo's Jewish community, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency the proposal is "an existential matter" for Norwegian Jews.
Lindboe has said circumcision is harmful.
"This is not due to any lack of understanding of minorities or religious traditions, but because the procedure is irreversible, painful and risky," she told the Oslo newspaper Aftenposten.