Bangladesh court rejects plans to remove Islam as state religion

Bangladesh High Court has rejected a petition calling for the removal of Islam as the official state religion. 

The High Court dismissed the request and ordered that those who brought it forward did not have the right to do so, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

The petition was submitted by secular activists in Bangladesh almost 30 years ago, claiming that keeping Islam as the state religion of Bangladesh could move the country towards religious fundamentalism.

It was signed by 15 high profile individuals, many of whom are now dead.

Bangladesh’s largest Islamic political party, Jamaat-e-Islami, called for a nationwide strike protest to take place on the same day as the ruling with the aim to urge the High Court to reject the petition.

The party argued that 90 per cent of the country is Muslim, and that the people of Bangladesh did not wish for the state religion to be removed.

They also noted that Bangladeshi Muslims were respectful of minority religions and “set a tremendous example of communal harmony even after having Islam as state religion”.

Protests took place last Friday outside the national Mosque in Dhaka, where over 5,000 Muslims gathered to denounce the petition.

Bangladesh is currently ruled by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League party, who is renowned for her brutal crackdown of Islamic groups.

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