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Turkish Reformers Launch Drive Against Circumcision in Move for Westernization

January 15, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Abrahamitic rite of circumcision, practiced by the Turks for centuries as well as by Jews and Moslems, may soon be discarded and share the fate of the Arabic alphabet which was recently substituted by the Latin A-B-C’s, in the campaign for the “westernization” of Turkey.

A group of Turkish extremist reformers, headed by Dr. Nasim Bey, a close friend of Kemal Pasha, has launched a vigorous campaign for the abolition of the biblical rite of circumcision. In literature and newspaper articles, Dr. Nasim Bey declares that the circumcision rite reduces the birthrate and is a danger to health. He also expresses the doubt whether circumcision is important from the Mohammedan religious law’s point of view. The fear was expressed here today that this campaign is being inspired by the dictator of Turkey, although it is clear that both Jews and Mohammedans will vigorously oppose the prohibition.

Jewish leaders were particularly anxious over the development. It was pointed out that all the reforms introduced by Kemal Pasha in present-day Turkey have left the Jewish population untouched. It was declared that in case the prohibition of circumcision is enforced by decree the Jews of Turkey will have to leave the country or practice their rite in secret, as they did under the Roman imperators’ reign in the early years of the Christian era.

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