Denmark: Paediatrician accuses Chief Rabbi of lying about circumcision complications
... transscript of a TV Programme aired by the main Danish public service channel Danmark's Radio on Wednesday July 18 at 18:30 hours.
Studio host Steffen Kretz: One of Denmark's leading pediatricians, has accused the leader of the Danish 'Mosaic Faith Society' [Mosaisk Trossamfund], the largest religious organization among Denmark's estimated 7000 Jews, of having mutilated young male infants when they were circumcised.
Dr. Preben Kirkegaard: 'We have seen examples of all the skin of the penis having been taken off, also when performed by Chief Rabbi Bent Lexner.
Steffen Kretz: The accusation is categorically denied by Chief Rabbi Bent Lexner who has circumcised more than a thousand newly born infant boys.
Chief Rabbi Bent Lexner: It was me who took care of the Jewish circumcisions over forty years, and there were done about a thousand, and there has not been one complication...
Dr. Preben Kirkegaard: There we can see; all the skin has been removed of the whole penis...
... During my time at Rigshospitalet, there were brought in several boys each year, who were circumcised 'down town', as it is called,
Speaker: In many cases far too much of the skin had been cut off.
Dr. Preben Kirkegaard: ... and some of them were about to bleed out completely, I must say, their lives were actually endangered.
Speaker: But the recent days discussion of circumcision of primarily Jewish and Muslim boys, earlier today caused the head of the Jews in Denmark to stress, that a ban of the ritual practice would chase the Jews out of Denmark.
Chief Rabbi Bent Lexner: We would pack our suitcases as soon as possible, and end 400 years of Jewish life in Denmark.
Speaker: One of those Jews who were circumcised at an early age however, does not agree.
Keld Koplev: It is torture and mutilation of male infants. Why should a rabbi, who doesn't have a medical education, be able to do that? Cutting into other people, cutting into children, I don't understand.
Chief Rabbi Bent Lexner: Because it is me who has taken care of the Jewish circumcisions, through 40 years, and there were about a thousand, and there never has been one complication.
Dr. Preben Kirkegaard: He is lying if he says that it never happened.
Speaker: Preben Kirkegaard continues to work as a doctor, and with the cases he has seen in mind, his verdict about circumcision is clear:
Dr. Preben Kirkegaard: It is child abuse
Steffen Kretz: Good evening Bent Lexner, these are tough accusations against you. It is child abuse, we hear the Doctor say.
And he says, that he has had boys who were circumcised by you in his care, who were mutilated because there were complications, what do you have to say to this criticism?
Rabbi Bent Lexner: First I would like to say that it actually is true, that there has been a situation that I know about where parents that I knew, went to the hospital, where Preben Kirkegaard apparently was on duty at the time being, and what I mostly remember from that case, is that the parents were completely shocked about the treatment they had got.
That this doctor, who now has some opinions about the case, they were shocked by his attitude. He ripped off the bandage, and I have seen the pictures some years ago, I can understand they can perhaps appear dramatic, but I just want to put it to the Doctors attention, that that is the way a circumcision looks, completely natural without problems. [The picture clearly shows a degloved penis.]
Steffen Kretz: But the Doctor directly says, that, sorry to interrupt, he says directly that you are lying when you say that there have been no complications with the many circumcisions you have performed through the years. What do you say to that accusation?
Rabbi Bent Lexner: I would like to say that it is true; I am sorry that I did not point that out at a that time, when I was interviewed in a car, That I should have said that there had been an example that I knew about at the Rigshospitalet [hospital]
But I'd like to say, that it ended with, that the reason was that there were problems with a virus in the child [blaming the victim] , and there is nobody who is informed about circumcisions, who will allege that I have destroyed anything at all, that is an unreasonable accusation, which only has something to do with attitudes. [ad hominem]