Bangladesh Court Rejects Removing Islam as State Religion


DHAKA, Bangladesh — Mar 28, 2016, 7:58 AM ET Leaders of a Bangladeshi Islamic group celebrate

Bangladesh’s top court rejected a 28-year-old petition Monday to remove Islam as the official religion of the Muslim-majority South Asian nation.

The decision by the three-judge High Court panel had been widely expected. The court said the 15-member group that filed the petition in 1988 has no legitimacy because it was never registered with authorities.

Government lawyers said the court’s rejection means that Islam will remain Bangladesh’s official religion, and that equal rights for minority religions guaranteed by the constitution will not be affected.

The government’s lead lawyer for the case, Murad Reza, who had opposed the petition, praised the court’s decision.

Islam was declared Bangladesh’s state religion in 1988 by military dictator H.M. Ershad in a bid to win popular support while major political parties campaigned to oust him from power. He resigned amid mass protests in 1990.

The country’s current leader, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, reintroduced secularism as the political standard in a 2011 constitutional amendment, but continued to support Islam as the state religion.

Leaders of the local Islamist group Hefajat-e-Islam said they were happy with Monday’s court decision. Members of the group who had gathered outside the court held two fingers up in a V sign for victory.

“We thank the court on behalf of the nation for rejecting the petition,” said Fazlul Karim Kashemy, a Hefajat-e-Islam leader. “Muslims and non-Muslims in our society have been maintaining good relationship for long.”

Bangladesh’s largest Islamist political party, Jamaat-e-Islami, had called for a nationwide general strike on Monday to demand the petition’s rejection, but few heeded the call to strike.

2 replies

    I am an American Muslim. Most of Muslim around the world believe that Saudi Arabia, Iran, ISIS, Taliban are the true Islamic state or Syariah Islamic state, but actually they are fake Islamic state. Why?

    The true Shariah state or Islamic state is where the government protect the right of minority, and freedom of religion, speech and expression. Justice for all people regardless his belief, gender and race.
    State and Church, and Mosque are separated. Government can not take a side of religion, must be neutral.

    Allah commanded the existing authority has to protect the right of minority as following;
    QS 4:75. “What has happened to you that you do not fight in the way of Allah, and for the oppressed among men, women and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out from this town whose people are cruel, and make for us a supporter from Your own, and make for us a helper from Your own.”

    This Golden wisdom is found in Christianity and judaism.

    Proverb 31:8. Speak up for people who can not speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless.speak for them and be a righteous judge.protect the right of the poor and needy.

    Psalm 103 ;6.
    God judges favor of the oppressed and gives them their rights.He revealed His plans to Moses and let the people of Israel see His mighty deeds. God is merciful and loving.

    American Government protect the right of religious minorities, Islam, Hindu, Budha, Jews, others and the right Gay-Lesbian, atheist and women.

    But Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, Iran, Aceh, Brunei and other Islamic states do not protect the right of religious minorities and gay -lesbian. And also there is no freedom of speech and expression. They are wrong, they have been astray. They kill each other, and thousands innocent people including children have been suffering, displacing and killed. I am so sad, pity, heartbreaking and embarrassing too. There must be something wrong with Islamic teaching. What is about you?

    Our question is Can Islamic State in Bangladesh protect the right of religious minorities, and freedom of speech, religion, and expression? Can non Muslim join police,army and government Jobs.


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