Bangladesh resides in the east of India on the Bay of Bengal, on the Southern part of the Asian continent. Its Supreme court is presently weighing options to drop Islam as its official religion. This decision proceeds a string of alarming extremist attacks meted out against Hindus and Christians in the region.
The ‘abandon Islam’ has been endorsed by leaders of minority faiths in the country.
Bangladesh government asserts the blitz of violence towards others religions in the country isn’t the work of ISIS but of its own people.
US officials had previously informed the country’s government of ISIS stepping up recruitment in Bangladesh, yet the government insists ‘the extremist problems are home grown’.
The Supreme court recently decided to hear arguments which challenged the country’s official religion, Islam, citing attacks against people of other religions such as Hindus, Christians, and minorities Shi’ites, as actions perpetuated by Islamic extremists.
Bangladesh which was split from Pakistan in 1971 was originally a non-religious state but when its constitution was amended in 1988, Islam was declared as the state’s religion.
This amendment is now being contested as illegal in the recent court battle which saw citizens of the country advocate for the eliminating of Islam.
Muslims make up some 90 percent of Bangladesh’s population, while Hindus account for 8 percent and other religions—including Buddhism and Christianity—make up the rest.
American director of National Intelligence has insisted attacks are the work of terrorist groups. In a written testimony to the U.S. Senate James Clapper noted “the claims of responsibility from ISIS for 11 high profile attacks on foreigners and religious minorities, and claims from the Ansarullah Bangla Team and al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent for killing at least 11 progressive writers and bloggers in Bangladesh since 2013”.
One Bangladesh police official informed local news: ‘We have made arrests on each and every so-called ISIS-claimed attack. The attackers have confessed their crimes in court. They have also confessed being a Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh member, and denied any linkage with ISIS.’
Since the past elections held in January 2014, Bangladesh has been in political turmoil for boycotting opposition parties and purported war crimes prosecutions brought against leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami over horrid activities carried out during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence.
Breitbart states: Religious minority leaders have commended the high court’s move to reexamine the state religion issue. Bishop Bejoy N. D’Cruze of Sylhet, chairman of the Catholic bishops’ Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue Commission, said that the decision to review the petition inspires great hope for religious minorities.
Bishop Bejoy’s statement reads:
“When a state officially accepts a state religion, then it puts barricades for communal harmony because it recognizes supremacy of a particular religion and makes other religions inferior,” D’Cruze said, adding that recent extremist attacks on religious minorities are an indirect consequence of the adoption of a state religion.
“We hope and demand that every religion in Bangladesh are put on an equal footing in terms of status and respect,”
According to Govinda Chadra Pramanik, secretary of Bangladesh National Hindu Grand Alliance, the religious leader said;
“By sponsoring Islam as the official religion, the state has created grounds for the persecution of minorities, especially Hindus. The state religion established the supremacy of Islam over other religions, offering a weapon to radical Islamists to abuse minority communities. Moreover, Islam gets more attention from the state, not other religions, which is an obstacle to interfaith harmony.
As the state religion, Islam put psychological pressure on minorities, and makes them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. The court must come to the right decision and withdraw it”.
Muslims are killing their own people, is it not the same faith?