Davíð Tencer, the Catholic Bishop of Iceland, has recently declared his support for the Jewish and Muslim community in their fight to practice their religion of freedom, RÚV reports.
Tencer is the latest religious leader to voice his opinion about the controversial circumcision ban proposed by MP Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir. “To us it looks like this can be an opportunity for those who are interested in this matter to misuse the subject of circumcision in an attempt to persecute individuals for their religion,” Tencer explained.
As we reported in February, Bishop of Iceland Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir had aleady condemned the ban on a similar basis. “The danger that arises, if this bill becomes law, is that Judaism and Islam will become criminalised religions,” she said. “That individuals who subscribe to these faiths will be banned in this country and unwelcome.”
Catholics don’t see the practice of circumcising babies as necessary to their religion. As Tencer explains, the Bible reports that those who belong to the people of God are circumcised (ergo pure) in the heart, not in the flesh. Nevertheless, Tencer recognises that circumcision has an essential position in the Jewish and Muslim communities, and that Catholics understand the philosophy behind it. To ban it is to personally, Tencer adds, prevent individuals from professing freely their own faith.
In the meantime, Icelanders seem to be sharply divided over the issue. As we recently reported, around 50% of them support the ban, while 13% expressed no opinion on the matter. Although local and international religious leaders have firmly condemned the ban, 400 Icelandic doctors have spoken in support of the bill. In addition, Icelandic nurses and midwives have also sent a list of 1,325 signatures to Parliament to support the bill.