“This initiative is against religious freedom and the principles of democracy proper to a civil society”. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE), said this in a joint statement issued by CCEE and CEC (Conference of European Churches) this morning with regard to a proposal tabled in the Icelandic parliament (Althing) to ban the non-medically indicated circumcision of male children. Cardinal Bagnasco emphasised that “the Catholic Church is particularly committed to defending the child’s right, which also includes the right – the duty of the family to educate their children according to their own religious convictions”. Rev. Christopher Hill, for his part, said: “It is important that circumcision is practised legally, in a medically appropriate and safe setting, so that the child’s health is not jeopardized”. The Anglican Reverend also drew attention to the fact that circumcision “is a standard secular medical procedure in several countries – with established medical guidelines – which can even be beneficial. It cannot, therefore, be argued that the intervention amounts to an unacceptable violation of corporeal integrity. Thus, such a limitation of freedom of religion or belief cannot be justified by objective reasons”. And he went on to say: “We should not forget that it is a right recognised in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to belong to and to be educated in the religious tradition of his or her family (articles 1, 14, 29)”. In the declaration, the Christian Churches also report the opinion of Albert Guigui, Chief Rabbi of Brussels and Permanent Representative of the Conference of European Rabbis to the European Institutions. “Prohibiting circumcision in a given country amounts to that very country publicly declaring that no Jewish community is welcome on its territory any longer”. Chief Imam Razawi, of the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society, said that forbidding “a religious rite in this way would amount to banning the ability to practice faith for Muslims”.