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By 1800 the national population was reduced to only 47 000 by disease, starvation and volcanic eruptions.
The Icelandic (established 930 AD) is the oldest parliament in the world.
Mgr Duarte da Cunha, general secretary of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, issued a statement condemning the proposed law as an attack on religious freedom and assuring the support of the European Catholic Church of the rights of Jews and Muslims to practice their religious tradition of circumcision.
“If the proposal were made into law, it would not only be an infringement of the fundamental human right of freedom of religion or belief, but would also be perceived as a signal that people with Jewish or Muslim backgrounds are no longer welcome to Iceland,” said Mgr da Cunha’s statement.
The bill must be discussed in parliament for three sessions before a final vote. Fr Rolland said he hoped the Catholic Church in other countries would unite to express their concerns before the bill becomes law.
Icelanders, coming by way of Greenland, were the first European visitors to what is now Canada.