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Book: Contemporary Views on Comparative Religion

Chapter: 24. Whose Rights? The Danish Debate on Ritual Infant Male Circumcision as a Human Rights Issue

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.28112


The debate over ritual infant male circumcision has increasingly been thematized as a Human Rights issue. But the claims on such rights seem highly conflicting. In particular, the rights of the child seems to conflict with the freedom of religion of parents, the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, and the rights of family and privacy. This disagreement is also present among scholars of religion. A reading of public statements by scholars of religion in the ongoing Danish (and Norwegian) debate reveals the lack of consensus of the study of religion when it comes to matters that are of great concern both for religious minorities and for individual citizens. This chapter examines the Law and Human Rights documents behind these conflicting claims and discusses the role of the scholar of religion in the debate.

Chapter Contributors

  • Mikael Aktor ( - maktor) 'University of Southern Denmark'