A Norwegian tabloid published a caricature equating Jewish and Muslim supporters of non-medical circumcision with insane pedophiles.
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Dagbladet, which has a circulation of roughly 75,000 copies daily, published the item on Tuesday.
It depicts two men, one of them bearded and the other wearing a kippah, standing next to signs that read “yes to circumcision” and “religious freedom.”
A third man wearing a tattered raincoat tells them: “I know what you mean. I, too, get told by invisible men to mess around with boys’ penises.”
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, called on Norwegian authorities to take action against the publication on Dagbladet of what he said was hate speech. “This cartoon is a blatant attack on religious freedom and is deeply offensive to all religious communities. This publication has a track record of disrespecting religion and as the editor has shown that he has neither restraint nor responsibility, I urge the relevant authorities to act,” Goldschmidt said in a statement.
In 2013 Dagbladet was criticized in Norway and beyond for publishing a caricature about circumcision that the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, Rabbi Abraham Copper, said was “so virulently anti-Semitic it would make Hitler and Himmler weep tears of joy.”
The 2013 caricature showed police officers looking on as a bearded man wearing a black hat and black coat sticks a three-tooth pitchfork into the head of a blood-soaked baby while holding a book.
Another unseen person cuts off the baby’s foot with a bolt cutter as a woman in a long-sleeve shirt and a hat shows the officers another blood-spattered book and tells them: “Abuse? No, this tradition is central to our belief.” The police officers apologize “for interrupting.” The Norwegian Center against Racism condemned the paper over the 2013 cartoon, stating it reflected a “gross failure in editorial discretion.”
Many European secularists regard circumcision on minors, which is performed by Muslims and Jews, as a cruel violation of children’s rights. A similar debate is occurring across Europe and in the continent’s north about the issue of ritual slaughter of animals, which devout Jews and Muslims require be performed on conscious animals.
In addition to left-wing initiatives to ban non-medical circumcision of boys and ritual slaughter, Europe and northern Europe especially have seen similar efforts by center-right and far-right populists. Proponents often appeal to children’s rights and animal welfare, although some appear to be specifically targeting Muslim or Jews.
Several parties in Norway, where ritual slaughter has been prohibited since 1929, support banning non-medical circumcision of boys.
In 2014, the Norwegian government introduced legislation that regulated non-medical circumcision of boys. It stipulates that the procedure must be performed under the supervision and in the presence of a licensed physician, but it may be physically carried out by other persons.