June 21, 2011

Islam to remain state religion of Bangladesh

by Jan Harris

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has failed to fulfil her promise to reinstate the secular status of the state under new amendments to the country‚Äôs constitution.

Bangladesh was declared a secular republic in 1972 but Islam became the state religion in 1988 following amendments to its constitution by two military dictators.

Hasina, who has been Prime Minister for two years, has introduced some changes to support secularism, but faces criticism from religious minorities and civil society groups who are calling for full reform.

Other religions including Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity will be given equal status and followers will be allowed to practice their faith freely.

It was decided to keep Islam as the state religion because of the sensitivity of the issue.

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