Cartoon in Norwegian newspaper compares supporters of circumcision to paedophiles

Image printed in Dagbladet, country’s second largest tabloid daily


Supporters of religious circumcision have been compared to paedophiles in a cartoon published in a Norwegian newspaper.

Dagbladet, the country’s second largest tabloid daily, ran the controversial image 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.”

This is not the first time the newspaper, which has a daily circulation of 75,000, has courted controversy over the ritual, practiced by Jews and Muslims alike.

In 2013 it ran another cartoon which showed police officers looking on as a bearded man wearing a black hat and black coat stuck a pitchfork into the head of a blood-soaked baby while holding a book.

Another unseen person cut 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 apologised “for interrupting”. 

The Norwegian Centre against Racism condemned the paper at the time and Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s associate dean, Rabbi Abraham Copper, said it was “so virulently antisemitic it would make Hitler and Himmler weep tears of joy”.

Angered by the recent imagery, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said: “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.” 

Several parties in Norway support banning non-medical circumcision of boys. In 2014, the government introduced legislation that regulated the practice. It stipulates that the procedure must be performed under the supervision and in the presence of a licensed physician, but it may be carried out by other persons.

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