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Bangladesh may drop Islam as country's official religion following attacks on minorities

Religious minority bloggers and prominent figures have been killed in the past year in attacks believed to be from Islamic militants

Harriet Sinclair
Saturday 05 March 2016 17:15 GMT
A number of attacks on religious minority bloggers have prompted potential changes
A number of attacks on religious minority bloggers have prompted potential changes (DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Islam could be dropped as Bangladesh’s official religion following a number of attacks in the country against people of other faiths.

Christians, Hindus and Muslim minority Shiites have recently faced attacks that are believed to have been carried out by Islamic extremists.

The country’s Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments in favour of removing Islam as the official religion of Bangladesh, the Daily Mail reported.

Islam has been the country’s official religion since 1988, but the battle to overturn this – which is being supported by many minority religious leaders – will argue that the decision to designate Islam the official religion was illegal.

However it is unclear how much widespread the support the move would have in the country, where 90 per cent of the population is Muslim, 8 per cent are Hindu and 2 per cent is made up of other minority religions.

In the past month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death at an attack at a temple in Bangladesh’s Panchgarh district in which two Hindu followers were also injured, while in the past year several prominent religious minority bloggers have been murdered.

Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year, and although the government denies there is an Isis presence in the country, it is believed members are increasingly being recruited from there.

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