Chief Rabbi warns of ‘threat’ to circumcision and kosher slaughter across Europe

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Chief Rabbi warns of ‘threat’ to circumcision and kosher slaughter across Europe

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis highlighted the threat to Jewish religious practice 'in a number of countries in Europe today' as he spoke at major conference on religious freedom in London

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has used a speech at a major conference on religious freedom to warn of the threat to both circumcision and kosher meat slaughter “in a number of countries in Europe today.”

As faith leaders from all religions addressed the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) at the QEII Centre in Westminister, Rabbi Mirvis praised the the UK government for its “promotion, prevention, and protection” approach, to the wellbeing of the Jewish community.

He told more than 700 delegates gathered for the two-day long event that the Hebrew Bible differentiates between two types of freedom: Chofesh – “freedom from” – and Cheirut – “freedom to”.

Rabbi Mirvis then observed that “in a number of countries in Europe today there is a threat to milah and shechita.”

He then added:”Surely these threats should have no place in Europe in 2022.”

Mirvis said he called on all the countries represented at the conference to guarantee freeedom from persecution, cruelty and ultimately genocide.

He added:” I am mindful for example, of the persecution of Uyghurs in China, the persecution of Christian minorities and of course I’m mindful of a worrying increase in antisemitism right around the world.

“The European Commission reports that nine out of ten Jews living in Europe today, believe that antisemitism is a serious problem.

“We have seen how Holocaust denial and distortion has been used by Russian leaders to justify the war in Ukraine.

“We have seen how conspiracy theories are now mainstream. ”

Rabbi Mirvis also stressed there must be freedom given to those wishing to “educate their children in the spirit of the tenets of their faith. ”

He continued:”So that through their faith they will be outstanding and responsible citizens, mindful always of their particular identity which exists for the sake of our universal aspirations.

“Freedom to celebrate the joy and the relevance and the meaning of religion today. Freedom to communicate with the members of other faiths, in a spirit of unity and not uniformity. To seek peace and to pursue it. And to create a civilisation blessed with harmony.”

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