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Dhaka rejects bid to become secular state

DHAKA (AsiaNews): The Bangladeshi High Court rejected a petition calling for the abolition of Islam as the state religion on March 29.

In its ruling, the court pointed to a procedural problem, saying that those who filed the petition do not have the constitutional right to do so.

The decision was greeted with joy by hundreds of Muslims who marched through the streets of Dhaka to celebrate.

The decision to question the state religion was first advanced 28 years ago by a petition submitted by writers, educators and rights advocates, with the goal of reducing violence by Islamist radicals against religious minorities.

While the Christian community welcomed the overall proposal, the Islamic community is instead divided between those who support a theocratic governance system and those who believe that the state should represent all citizens equally.


Theophil Nokrek, secretary of the Commission for Justice and Peace, said, “It is a decision that saddens us. Our nation was born secular, but the dictator, H. M. Ershad, has assumed an Islamic character to give the government political benefits. And now we, members of minorities, are victims of that decision.”

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