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Bangladesh court rejects petition to scrap Islam as a state religion

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Dhaka: The Dhaka High Court has rejected a petition by secular activists to scrap Islam as the state religion.

The court was hearing a writ petition, initially filed 28 years ago, which challenged the constitutional amendment that gave Islam the status of a state religion, reports the Daily Star.

The move to make Islam the state religion had come during the dictatorship of Gen. H M Ershad, who had inserted a section in the eighth amendment to the constitution on June 9, 1988.

The amendment was immediately challenged through a writ petition.

The court heard the petition for the first time in June 2011 and sought an explanation from the government on why the part of the eighth amendment to the constitution that had made Islam the state religion and should not be annulled.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina brought back secularism as a pillar of the constitution but promised it would not ratify any laws that go against the central tenets of the religion.

The court hearing came amidst a crackdown by the Bangladesh government against ‘militants and extremists’ behind the ‘Islamist violence’ that has recently gripped the country.(ANI)

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