Each year, the anniversary of the constitutional amendment recognizing Islam as the state religion is marked as a âblack dayâ. “If this state of affairs persists, Islamic extremism and communitarianism will eventually create serious problems,” says the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) – In Bangladesh, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian religious leaders together celebrated âBlack Dayâ yesterday. On June 9, 1988, Islam became the state religion following the adoption of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.
The Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) promoted the initiative on June 9 each year. This year, in a virtual meeting due to the pandemic, representatives of the largest organization defending the rights of religious minorities renewed their call for the amendment to be removed.
“With the amendment, the seed of sectarian politics has been planted,” said BHBCUC president Nirmol Rozario, a Catholic, addressing AsiaNews. âIn a country where Hindus, Buddhists and Christians also live, one religion cannot be the state religion. We oppose it. “
Constitutionally, âBangladesh is a secular country, but its state religion is Islam. It’s an obvious contradiction, âRozario explained. âIf this state of affairs persists, Islamic extremism and communitarianism will eventually create serious problems. “
At the meeting, Sultana Kamal, a prominent lawyer and human rights defender, noted that secularism was affirmed when Bangladesh was born in 1971 in a bloody war. Therefore, she wonders why the current Prime Minister[*] agrees with such discrimination. “Usually,” she noted, “constitutions are changed to make them better, but in our country in 1988 this was done to favor a single religious group.”
In view of the current situation, BHBCUC General Secretary Rana Dasgupta called for the creation of a security commission for minority communities. âReligious minorities are often persecuted by the majority group. For our security, we strongly demand a ministry for minorities and a commission for religious communities.
[*] The current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, is the daughter of the Father of the Nation Mujibur Rahman.