Bangladesh Rejects Petition; Islam to be Official Religion

By Jubair1985 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bangladesh court ruled against dissolving Islam as State Religion.

On Monday, the Bangladesh High Court rejected a petition that was filed by a group of 15 noted personalities in Bangladesh. According to the petition, the group challenged the constitutional provision that recognizes Islam as the State religion.

But what triggered this bench of judges headed by Justice Naima Haider to make such a ruling? According to the bench, the petitioners, who are believed to be secular, did not have the right to file a writ petition as stated by the law.

The plea was aimed at challenging the Eighth Amendment Bill that was passed on June 7, 1998, which declared Islam as the State Religion. Efforts to amend the bill started immediately since not all parties were satisfied. Due to the complexity involved, the case failed to see the light of the day, and it was never put under discussion since then until Somendra Nath Goswami filed a fresh petition on August who is a Supreme Court lawyer. He challenged the Islamic provisions claiming that they are not in line with the secular structure of the state.

The court has been challenged to comply with the 15th Amendment to the Constitution in 2011 that acknowledged restoration of secularism. The petition was heard in August, and the Court rejected the appeal the following month on Sep 7. It was until February this year that the Chief Justice Render Kumar Sinha constituted a three bench to reexamine the 1998 petition.

The Jamaat-e-Islami party has called for nationwide strikes come next Monday to oppose strongly any effort to change Islam as the state’s religion. Speaking to the Agence France-Presse, the party leaders said; “Bangladesh is a 90 percent Muslim nation. The people will never accept any government move to remove Islam as the state religion from the constitution in an effort to please a handful of anti-religion persons.”

This comes after tension between the secularists and hard-liners in many of the South Asian Country continues to increase. As a result of this pressure, the Dhaka police Spokesman Maruf Hossain Sorder has assured the public that there will be adequate security to ensure peaceful demonstrations.  Sorder said "We've sufficient security arrangements in the capital to prevent any violence or any act of sabotage."

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter