VIENNA (JTA) — Danish anti-circumcision activists have collected nearly 20,000 signatures out of the 50,000 they need to create a bill proposing to ban non-medical circumcision for boys.
With another five months to collect the remaining 30,000 signatures, the petition by the group Denmark Intact appears likely to reach its goal of forcing a vote in parliament that would set 18 as the minimum age for the procedure.
According to regulations passed in January, petitions approved for posting on the Folketinget, or Citizen Proposal, website are brought to a vote if they receive 50,000 signatures with six months of their appearance. The petition, which Denmark Intact is promoting on social networks, was launched on Feb. 1.
The petition proposes a punishment of up to six years in prison for any person who “physically assaults, with or without consent, mutilates or otherwise removes external sex organs in whole or in part” from children younger than 18.
It describes circumcision as a form of abuse and corporal punishment, equating it with female genital mutilation. The petition states that parents who have their children circumcised outside Denmark would be exposed to legal action in Denmark, which has 8,000 Jews and tens of thousands of Muslims.
Members of both faiths circumcise male boys.
Lawmakers from four parties in Iceland submitted a bill last month proposing to ban non-medical circumcision of boys, in what the leaders of the Jewish communities of all Nordic countries said would prevent a Jewish community from establishing itself there. Iceland has fewer than 250 Jews but this year will receive its first resident rabbi in decades. It also has a few hundred Muslims.