Minorities Push for Secular Constitution in Muslim Bangladesh

July 8, 2008

Author: Anto Akkara

Source: Ecumenical News International


A joint forum of Buddhist, Christian and Hindu minorities in Bangladesh is lobbying quietly for the restoration of a secular constitution that was abolished 20 years ago making Islam the state religion in the Muslim-majority nation.

"We are trying our best to make our voices heard," Nirmal Rozario, organizing secretary of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, told Ecumenical News International on 8 July from Dhaka.

In June, the council organized a seminar to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Islam becoming the State religion, despite a state of emergency being in force, following the seizure of power by the army in early 2007. Speakers at the seminar lamented that the abolition of the secular constitution had reduced the religious minorities in the Muslim-majority nation to "second class citizens".