Circumcision and law

Circumcision and law

There exist laws restricting or regulating circumcision, some dating back to ancient times. In a number of modern states, circumcision of males is presumed to be legal, but under certain circumstances, more general laws, such as laws about assault or child custody, may sometimes be interpreted as applying to situations involving circumcision. Some countries have placed restrictions on circumcision.



There are ancient religious requirements for circumcision. The Hebrew Bible commands Jews to circumcise their male children on the eighth day of life, and to circumcise their male slaves (Genesis 17:11-12).

Laws banning circumcision are also ancient. The ancient Greeks prized the foreskin and disapproved of the Jewish custom of circumcision.[1] 1 Maccabees, 1:60–61 states that King Antiochus IV of Syria, the occupying power of Judea in 170 BCE, outlawed circumcision on penalty of death.[2] one of the grievances leading to the Maccabean Revolt.[3]

According to the Historia Augusta, the Roman emperor Hadrian issued a decree banning circumcision in the empire,[4] and some modern scholars argue that this was a main cause of the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt of 132 CE.[5] The Roman historian Cassius Dio, however, made no mention of such a law, and blamed the Jewish uprising instead on Hadrian's decision to rebuild Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina, a city dedicated to Jupiter.

Antoninus Pius permitted Jews to circumcise their own sons. However, he forbade the circumcision of non-Jews that were either foreign-slaves or non-Jewish members of the household, contrary to Genesis 17:12 He also made it illegal for a man to convert to Judaism.[6] Antoninus Pius exempted the Egyptian priesthood from the otherwise universal ban on circumcision.

Modern Law


In 1993, a non-binding research paper of the Queensland Law Reform Commission (Circumcision of Male Infants) concluded that "On a strict interpretation of the assault provisions of the Queensland Criminal Code, routine circumcision of a male infant could be regarded as a criminal act", and that doctors who perform circumcision on male infants may be liable to civil claims by that child at a later date.[7] No prosecutions have occurred in Queensland, and circumcisions continue to be performed.

In a case of sexual assault in Queensland, Australia (1997), a district court awarded a man damages for nervous shock after a botched attempt to circumcise him with a broken beer bottle in a drunken attack. Making Australian legal history, the award was made against the assailant for unlawful wounding.[8]

In 1999, a Perth man won $A360,000 in damages after a doctor admitted he botched a circumcision operation at birth which left the man with a badly deformed penis.[9]

In 2002, Queensland police charged a father with grievous bodily harm for having his two sons, then aged nine and five, circumcised without the knowledge and against the wishes of the mother. The mother and father were in a family court dispute. The charges were dropped when the police prosecutor revealed that he did not have all family court paperwork in court and the magistrate refused to grant an adjournment.[10]

Cosmetic circumcision for newborn males is currently banned in all Australian public hospitals, South Australia being the last state to adopt the ban in 2007.[11] In the same year, the Tasmanian President of the Australian Medical Association, Haydn Walters, stated that they would support a call to ban circumcision for non-medical, non-religious reasons.[12] In 2009, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute released its Issues Paper investigating the law relating to male circumcision in Tasmania, it "highlights the uncertainty in relation to whether doctors can legally perform circumcision on infant males".[13]


Male circumcision was very strongly discouraged in Bulgaria in the 1980s as part of attempts to pressure the country's Muslim minority but there was no actual legislation against the practice.[14]

England and Wales

Male circumcision has traditionally been presumed to be legal under British law,[15] however some authors have argued that there is no solid foundation for this view in English law.[16][17]

The passage of the Human Rights Act 1998 has led to some speculation that the lawfulness of the circumcision of male children is unclear.[18]

One 1999 case, Re "J" (child's religious upbringing and circumcision)[19] said that circumcision in Britain required the consent of all those with parental responsibility, or the permission of the court, acting for the best interests of the child, and issued an order prohibiting the circumcision of a male child of a non-practicing Muslim father and non-practicing Christian mother with custody. The reasoning included evidence that circumcision carried some medical risk; that the operation would be likely to weaken the relationship of the child with his mother, who strongly objected to circumcision without medical necessity; that the child may be subject to ridicule by his peers as the odd one out and that the operation might irreversibly reduce sexual pleasure, by permanently removing some sensory nerves, even though cosmetic foreskin restoration might be possible. The court did not rule out circumcision against the consent of one parent. It cited a hypothetical case of a Jewish mother and an agnostic father with a number of sons, all of whom, by agreement, had been circumcised as infants in accordance with Jewish laws; the parents then have another son who is born after they have separated; the mother wishes him to be circumcised like his brothers; the father refuses his agreement. In such a case, a decision in favor of circumcision was said to be likely.

In 2001 the General Medical Council had found a doctor who had botched circumcision operations guilty of abusing his professional position and that he had acted "inappropriately and irresponsibly",[20] and struck him off the register.[21] A doctor who had referred patients to him, and who had pressured a mother into agreeing to the surgery, was also condemned.[20] He was put on an 18 month period of review and retraining, and was allowed to resume unrestricted practice as a doctor in March 2003, after a committee found that he had complied with conditions it placed on him. According to the Northern Echo, he "told the committee he has now changed his approach to circumcision referrals, accepting that most cases can be treated without the need for surgery.".[21]

Fox and Thomson (2005) argue that consent cannot be given for non-therapeutic circumcision.[16] They say there is "no compelling legal authority for the common view that circumcision is lawful."

In 2005 a Muslim man had his son circumcised against the wishes of the child's mother who was the custodial parent. He was found not guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm by a majority verdict of the jury.[22][23]

In 2009 it was reported that a 20 year old man whose father had him ritually circumcised as a baby is preparing to sue the doctor who circumcised him. This is believed to be the first time a person who was circumcised as an infant has made a claim in the UK. The case is expected to be heard in 2010.[24]


In August 2006, a Finnish court ruled that the circumcision of a four-year-old boy arranged by his mother, who is Muslim, to be an illegal assault. The boy's father, who had not been consulted, reported the incident to the police. A local prosecutor stated that the prohibition of genital mutilation is not gender-specific in Finnish law. A lawyer for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health stated that there is neither legislation nor prohibition on male circumcision, and that "the operations have been performed on the basis of common law." The case was appealed [25] and in October 2008 the Finnish Supreme Court ruled that the circumcision, " carried out for religious and social reasons and in a medical manner, did not have the earmarks of a criminal offence. It pointed out in its ruling that the circumcision of Muslim boys is an established tradition and an integral part of the identity of Muslim men".[26] In 2008, the Finnish government was reported to be considering a new law to legalise circumcision if the practitioner is a doctor and if the child consents.[27]

In February 2010, a Jewish couple were fined for causing bodily harm to their then infant son who was circumcised in 2008 by a mohel brought in from the UK. Normal procedure for persons of Jewish faith in Finland is to have a locally certified mohel who work in Finnish healthcare perform the operation. In the 2008 case, the infant was not anesthetized and developed complications that required immediate hospital care. The parents were ordered to pay 1500 euros in damages to their child.[28]


In October 2006, a Turkish national who performed ritual circumcisions on seven boys was convicted of causing dangerous bodily harm by the state court in Düsseldorf.[29]

In September 2007, a Frankfurt am Main appeals court found that the circumcision of an 11 year old boy without his approval was an unlawful personal injury. Reportedly, the boy, whose parents are divorced, was visiting his Muslim father during a vacation when his father forced him to be ritually circumcised. According to a report by the German ddp press agency, the boy, who lives with his mother, plans to sue his father for 10,000 Euro.[30]


In October 2005 a Nigerian man was cleared of a charge of reckless endangerment over the death of a baby from haemorrhage and shock after he had circumcised the child. The judge directed the jury not to "bring what he called their white western values to bear when they were deciding this case" and after deliberating for an hour and a half they found the defendant not guilty.[31]


In Israel, Jewish circumcision is entirely legal, as is after-death circumcision. In 1999, the Israeli Supreme Court overruled an attempt to have after-death circumcision outlawed.[32]


When Ayaan Hirsi Ali was a Member of the Netherlands Parliament she asked it to consider making the circumcision of male children unlawful.[33] In May 2008 a father who had his two sons, aged 3 and 6 circumcised against the will of their mother was found not guilty of causing them serious physical harm but was given a 6 week suspended jail sentence for taking the boys away from their mother against her will.[34]

South Africa

The Children's Act 2007 makes the circumcision of male children under 16 unlawful except for religious or medical reasons. Eastern Cape Province passed a law (Application of Health Standards in Traditional Circumcision Act 2001) to regulate traditional circumcision, which causes the death or mutilation of many youths by traditional surgeons each year.[35][36] Among other provisions, the minimum age for circumcision is age 18.

In 2004, a 22 year old Rastafarian convert was forcibly circumcised by a group of Xhosa tribal elders and relatives. When he first fled, two police returned him to those who had circumcised him.[37] In another case, a medically circumcised Xhosa man was forcibly recircumcised by his father and community leaders. He laid a charge of unfair discrimination on the grounds of his religious beliefs, seeking an apology from his father and the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa. According to South African newspapers, the subsequent trial became "a landmark case around forced circumcision."[38] In October 2009, the Bhisho Equality Court (High Court) ruled that, in South Africa, circumcision is unlawful unless done with the full consent of the initiate.[39]


In 2001, the Parliament of Sweden enacted a law allowing only persons certified by the National Board of Health to circumcise infants. It requires a medical doctor or an anesthesia nurse to accompany the circumciser and for anaesthetic to be applied beforehand. After the first two months of life circumcisions can only be performed by a physician. The stated purpose of the law was to increase the safety of the procedure.[40]

Swedish Jews and Muslims objected to the law,[41] and in 2001, the World Jewish Congress called it "the first legal restriction on Jewish religious practice in Europe since the Nazi era."[42] The requirement for an anaesthetic to be administered by a medical professional is a major issue,[43] and the low degree of availability of certified professionals willing to conduct circumcision has also been subject to criticism.[44] According to a survey, two out of three paediatric surgeons said they refuse to perform non-therapeutic circumcision, and less than half of all county councils offer it in their hospitals.[45] However, in 2006, the U.S. State Department stated, in a report on Sweden, that most Jewish mohels had been certified under the law and 3000 Muslim and 40-50 Jewish boys were circumcised each year. An estimated 2000 of these are performed by persons who are neither physicians nor have officially recognised certification.[46]

The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare reviewed the law in 2005 and recommended that it be maintained,[47] but found that the law had failed with regard to the intended consequence of increasing the safety of circumcisions.[48] A later report by the Board criticised the low level of availability of legal circumcisions, partly due to reluctance among health professionals.[48] To remedy this, the report suggested a new law obliging all county councils to offer non-therapeutic circumcision in their hospitals,[48] but this was later abandoned in favour of a non-binding recommendation.[46]

United States

In the United States, circumcision is not specifically unlawful. However, some believe that the circumcision of a child violates general laws enacted for the protection of children. Doctors who circumcise children must take care that all applicable rules regarding informed consent are satisfied. If consent is invalid, then a circumcision is a battery.[49]

CNN reported in 2005 that a California group has submitted to Congress a bill entitled the "Male Genital Mutilation Bill". The report stated that while it's unlikely the bill will go anywhere in the near future, it raises important questions about gender equality, religious freedom, and the protection of children.[50] After a failed attempt to add a similar bill to a San Francisco ballot, the state of California enacted in October 2011 a law protecting circumcision from local attempts to ban the practice.[51]

Disputes between parents Occasionally the courts are asked to make a ruling when parents cannot agree on whether or not to circumcise a child.

In January 2001 a dispute between divorcing parents in New Jersey was resolved when the mother, who sought to have the boy circumcised withdrew her request. The boy had experienced two instances of foreskin inflammation and she wanted to have him circumcised. The father, who had experienced a traumatic circumcision as a child objected and they turned to the courts for a decision. The Medical Society of New Jersey and the Urological Society of New Jersey both opposed any court ordered medical treatment. As the parties came to an agreement, no precedent was set.[52] In June 2001 a Nevada court settled a dispute over circumcision between two parents but put a strict gag order on the terms of the settlement.[53] In July 2001 a dispute between parents in Kansas over circumcision was resolved when the mother's request to have the infant circumcised was withdrawn. In this case the father opposed circumcision while the mother asserted that not circumcising the child was against her religious beliefs. (The woman's pastor had stated that circumcision was "important" but was not necessary for salvation.) On 24 July 2001 the parents reached agreement that the infant would not be circumcised.[54][55]

On 14 July 2004 a mother appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court to prevent the circumcision of her son after a county court and the Court of Appeals had denied her a writ of prohibition.[56] However, in early August 2004, before the Supreme Court had given its ruling, the father, who had custody of the boy, had him circumcised.[57]

In October 2006 a judge in Chicago granted an injunction blocking the circumcision of a 9 year old boy. In granting the injunction the judge stated that "the boy could decide for himself whether to be circumcised when he turns 18."[58]

In November 2007, the Oregon Supreme Court heard arguments from a divorced Oregon couple over the circumcision of their son. The father wants his son, who turned 13 on 2 March 2008, to be circumcised; the child's mother opposes the procedure. The parents dispute whether the boy is in favor of the procedure. A group opposed to circumcision filed briefs in support of the mother's position, while some Jewish groups filed a brief in support of the father.[59] On 25 January 2008, the Court returned the case to the trial court with instructions to determine whether the child agrees or objects to the proposed circumcision.[60] The father appealed to the US Supreme Court to allow him to have his son circumcised[61] but his appeal was rejected. The case now returns to the trial court.[62]

Other disputes

In September 2004 the North Dakota Supreme Court rejected a mother's attempt to prosecute her doctor for circumcising her child without fully informing her of the consequences of the procedure. The judge and jury found that the defendants were adequately informed of possible complications, and the jury further found that it is not incumbent on the doctors to describe every "insignificant" risk.[63]

In February 2004 in California, a man argued that he was Hebrew and circumcised his son out of religious duty. The judge ruled "it is only illegal if one mutilates a female -- there is nothing in the penal code about a male child.".[64] However, in December 2004 in Vancouver, Washington, a man was convicted of second degree child assault after he attempted to circumcise his son with a hunting knife and was sentenced to serve three years in jail.[65]

In March 2009 a Fulton County, Ga., State Court jury awarded $2.3 million in damages to a 4-year-old boy and his mother for a botched circumcision in which too much tissue was removed causing permanent disfigurement.[66]

In August 2010 an eight day old boy was circumcised in a Florida hospital against the stated wishes of the parents. The hospital admitted that the boy was circumcised by mistake, but the mother has sued the hospital and the doctor involved in the case.[67]


Before glasnost, according to an article in The Jewish Press, Jewish ritual circumcision was forbidden in the USSR.[68] However, David E. Fishman, professor of Jewish History at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, states that, whereas the heder and yeshiva, the organs of Jewish education, "were banned by virtue of the law separating church and school, and subjected to tough police and administrative actions," circumcision was not proscribed by law or suppressed by executive measures.[69] Jehoshua A. Gilboa writes that while circumcision was not officially or explicitly banned, pressure was exerted to make it difficult. Mohels in particular were concerned that they could be punished for any health issue that might develop, even if it arose some time after the circumcision.[70]

See also

  • Forced circumcision


  1. ^ Hodges, Frederick M. (2001). "The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme". Bulletin of the History of Medicine 75 (3): 375–405. doi:10.1353/bhm.2001.0119. PMID 11568485. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  2. ^ 1 Maccabees, 1:60–61
  3. ^ Miller, Geoffrey P. (Spring 2002). "Circumcision: Cultural-Legal Analysis" (PDF (free download)). Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law 9: 497–585. doi:10.2139/ssrn.201057. Retrieved August 17, 2010. "Ritual circumcision of boys is a durable tradition. Jews of ancient times refused to abandon the practice despite enormous pressure to do so. In 167 BCE the Seleucid emperor Antiochus IV, as part of a campaign to Hellenise the Jews, condemned to death every Hebrew who allowed a son to be circumcised. The Jews responded with the Maccabean revolt, a campaign of guerrilla warfare that resulted in major victories for the rebels and, eventually, a peace treaty that restored Jewish ritual prerogatives." 
  4. ^ The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome
  5. ^ See, e.g., Alfredo M. Rabello, The Ban on Circumcision as a Cause of Bar Kokhba’s Rebellion, 29 ISRAEL L. REV. 176 (1995) (Arguing that the Bar Kokhba rebellion against Roman rule was primarily motivated by the superimposition of foreign religious standards, rather than by some important notion of independence or sovereignty).
  6. ^ Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.03.29
  7. ^ QLRC: Circumcision of Male Infants
  8. ^ "Man sues for circumcision", (October 9, 1997) Daily Dispatch[dead link]
  9. ^ Man Receives $360,000 Compensation for Childhood Circumcision
  10. ^ Mother's Fury as Boys Circumcised
  11. ^ "Public hospitals ban circumcision". The Australian. 2007-11-12.,25197,22744548-5006787,00.html. .
  12. ^ "Doctors back call for circumcision ban". ABC News. 2007-12-09. 
  13. ^ "Male circumcision". Tasmanian Law Reform Institute. 
  14. ^ 'Under the Fez and the Foreskin', p113, The Orient Within (Cornell University Press, 2004)
  15. ^ Poulter, Sebastian (1986). English Criminal Law and Ethnic Minority Customs. Butterworths,London. ISBN 00113259765. " , no amount of parental agreement or support can legitimise the circumcision, excision or infibulation of a young girl in this country, unless the operation is for therapeutic purposes." 
  16. ^ a b A covenant with the status quo? Male circumcision and the new BMA guidance to doctors
  17. ^ Christopher Price M.A.(Oxon), Male Circumcision: An Ethical and Legal Affront, 1997
  18. ^ Circumcision After the Human Rights Act 1998
  19. ^ Re J (child's religious upbringing and circumcision)
  20. ^ a b "Circumcision doctors 'abused position'". BBC News. 2001-08-21. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  21. ^ a b Circumcision case GP told he can resume career
  22. ^ icNetwork - Local and regional news, sport, entertainment and classifieds across the UK[dead link]
  23. ^ Tapsfield, James (May 3, 2005). "Muslim Accused of Assaulting Son Through Circumcision". The Scotsman. Retrieved June 5, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Ritual circumcisions 'illegal'". Daily Mirror. 
  25. ^ "Court rules circumcision of four-year-old boy illegal". 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Finland Considers Legalising Male Circumcision". Ylesiradio. 2008-08-02. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  28. ^ "Parents Ordered to Pay Circumcised Son 1,500 Euros". Finnish Broadcasting Corporation. 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  29. ^ The Raw Story | Germany fines circumciser for initiation of 7 boys
  30. ^ Breaking News - JTA, Jewish & Israel News
  31. ^ RTÉ News: Nigerian cleared over circumcision death
  32. ^ NOCIRC NEWSLTTR reordered2
  33. ^ Dutch MP wants ban on male circumcision
  34. ^ - Father 'not guilty' in circumcision case
  35. ^ CRIN - Violence Study - SOUTH AFRICA: Clamping down on botched circumcisions
  36. ^ "SOUTH AFRICA: Clamping down on botched circumcisions". IRIN In-Depth (MTHATA). 1 August 2007. 
  37. ^ Peters, Melanie (July 4, 2004). "Rastafarian circumcised against his will". South Africa. Sunday Tribune. p. 3. Retrieved 2007-04-23. "22-year-old Cape Town man was taken by force and circumcised against his will this week.…He is a Rastafarian convert and strongly opposes Xhosa initiation. The men who forcibly circumcised him also cut off his Rasta dreadlocks." 
  38. ^ "Forced circumcision: Son takes parents on". IOL: News for South Africa and the World. 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  39. ^ "Judgment in forced circumcision case". Legalbrief Today. 2009-10-14. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  40. ^ "Snitt som kostar - om omskärelse av pojkar" (in Swedish). Sveriges Radio. 22 October 2006. 
  41. ^ "Sweden restricts circumcisions". BBC Europe. October 1, 2001. Retrieved 2006-10-18. "Swedish Jews and Muslims object to the new law, saying it violates their religious rights." 
  42. ^ "Jews protest Swedish circumcision restriction". Reuters. 2001-06-07. "A WJC spokesman said, "This is the first legal restriction placed on a Jewish rite in Europe since the Nazi era. This new legislation is totally unacceptable to the Swedish Jewish community."" 
  43. ^ Hofvander Y (February 2002). "New law on male circumcision in Sweden". Lancet 359 (9306): 630. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(02)07737-1. PMID 11867150. 
  44. ^ Malin Beeck (5 March 2010). "Lång kötid för omskärelse" (in Swedish). UppsalaDemokraten. 
  45. ^ "Swedish doctors refuse to circumcise boys". The Local. 25 July 2009. 
  46. ^ a b Robert Holender (24 July 2009). "Många läkare vägrar utföra omskärelse av unga pojkar" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. 
  47. ^ Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (September 15, 2006). "Sweden". International Religious Freedom Report 2006. US Department of State. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  48. ^ a b c (in Swedish) Omskärelse av pojkar (Report). National Board of Health and Welfare. March 2007. 2007-107-7. 
  49. ^ Informed Consent for Neonatal Circumcision
  50. ^ Colb, Sherry (April 8, 2005). "A proposed bill to ban male circumcision". CNN. 
  51. ^ Evangelista, Benny (3 Oct 2011). "Circumcision law blocks local bans". San Francisco Chronicle. pp. C–2. 
  52. ^ Accord Not To Circumcise Son Still Leaves Heated Legal Debate
  53. ^ Thevemot, Carri Geer (June 25, 2001). "Gag order issued". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 
  54. ^ "Agreement reached in circumcision case". The Wichita Eagle. Wednesday, July 25, 2001. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  55. ^ Alex Branch (Friday, July 13, 2001). "Wichitans fight over their son's circumcision". The Wichita Eagle. 
  56. ^
  57. ^ "Despite mother's protest, father has boy circumcised". Kansas City Star. 08/10/2004. Archived from the original on Oct 29, 2004. 
  58. ^ "US judge rules 9-year-old need not get circumcised". Reuters. October 24, 2006. Retrieved August 30, 2010. "In a decision cheered by foes of routine circumcision for boys, a judge ruled on Tuesday that a 9-year-old need not be circumcised as his mother wanted.…In granting the boy's father an injunction blocking the procedure, the judge said the boy could decide for himself whether to be circumcised when he turns 18." 
  59. ^ Gerstein, Josh. "Ore. Court Mulls Circumcision Case". The New York Sun. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  60. ^ Oregon Judicial Department Appellate Court Opinions
  61. ^ "Dad appeals teen son's circumcision to U.S. Supreme Court". The Oregonian. 2008/05. 
  62. ^ "U.S. Supreme Court rejects Oregon's circumcision, abortion cases". The Oregonian. 
  63. ^ Cole, Janelle (September 4, 2004). "Hawley mother loses appeal" (convenience link). The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead (Forum Communications). Retrieved November 9, 2011. "The mother who unsuccessfully sued MeritCare Hospital and one of its doctors over her infant son's circumcision won't get a new trial, the North Dakota Supreme Court said Friday. Anita Flatt of Hawley, Minn., also will have to pay more than $58,000 in costs the doctor and hospital incurred defending themselves, the court ruled. The justices rejected Flatt's argument that she received inadequate information before consenting to her son's circumcision shortly after his birth in 1997. If she had had more information, she would not have consented, she said.…Jurors agreed with defense attorneys' arguments that Flatt had been told of the possible complications and that there is no need for doctors to outline every possible "insignificant" risk." 
  64. ^ Couple rescued from flood gets children back
  65. ^ Circumcision Attempt - Father sentenced to three years
  66. ^ Katheryn Hayes Tucker (March 31, 2009). "Jury Awards $2.3 Million for Botched Circumcision". 
  67. ^ Fred Tasker (15 August 2010). "Accidental circumcision leads to lawsuit, protest". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  68. ^ Barbara Oka, "Soviet Jews Of All Ages Seek Circumcision", The Jewish Press, March 14, 1991.
  69. ^ David E. Fishman, "Judaism in the USSR, 1917-1930: The Fate of Religious Education," in: Yaacov Ro'i, ed., Jews and Jewish Life in Russia and the Soviet Union (Cummings Center Series; London: Cass, 1995), 251-262; pp. 251-252.
  70. ^ "There was no official prohibition of circumcision and, on the whole, even the propaganda attacks on it were relatively restrained, apparently out of consideration for the presence of many millions of Moslems [...] in the Soviet Union. But at the same time numerous pressures were exerted to make observance of this precept [i.e., circumcision] difficult. Needless to say, Jewish members of the Communist Party were in an embarrassing situation when they personally faced the question whether to circumcise their sons [...] And the uncertainty weighed heaviest on the mohalim themselves [...] Any health problem developing in the baby some time after circumcision could serve to incriminate the mohel. It is easy to imagine, for example, the impact of news items on the death of children because of [...] circumcision (and the punishments imposed on mohalim), even if there were no explicit legal bans on circumcision." Jehoshua A. Gilboa, A Language Silenced: The Suppression of Hebrew Literature and Culture in the Soviet Union (London: Associated University Press, 1982), pp. 34-35.

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