(JTA) – A Swedish political party has voted to change its official stance in favor of banning circumcision. The Swedish Center Party voted 314-166 at its annual meeting to work to fight the nonmedical circumcision of boys. Party chief Annie Loof was among the party leaders who criticized the vote. The Center Party received approximately eight percent of the votes in last year’s national election. It broke with its center-right alliance earlier this year and now backs the left-wing ruling coalition, though it’s not officially part of the bloc.
“A ban on circumcision would make Jewish life in Sweden impossible,” Aron Verständig, chairman of The Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities, said Sunday, Sept. 29 in a statement. Sweden’s Jewish community numbers about 20,000 and has faced a range of challenges in recent years – from the rise of antisemitism that at times has turned violent to policy proposals that community members say make their lives difficult or impossible. There have been attempts to ban circumcision and the import of kosher meat, citing children’s and animal’s rights. A 1988 law banned the slaughter of animals without stunning, which makes kosher slaughter impossible.