Bangladesh: Christians protest imposition of Islam as state religion

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Christians are among other persecuted religious minorities in Bangladesh who continue to actively protest the 1988 constitutional amendment that established Islam as the country’s state religion, the Christian Post reports.

Christians have been persecuted with impunity by radical Islamists and Bangladesh police turn a blind eye, rights group Christian Freedom International recently reported. There are around 1.6 million Christians in Bangladesh or 1% of the country's population; according to CFI, Christians have to worship in secret or face “retaliation.”

Persecution watchdog organization Open Doors similarly stated in a recent report: “Churches, especially house churches where Muslim-background believers meet, prefer not to display any Christian symbols in order to avoid being recognized. Sometimes, even historic or mainline churches face opposition and restrictions in putting up a cross or other religious symbols.”

As part of their ongoing activism, on June 9 Christians and other faith groups participated in the annual “Black Day” protest march against the imposition of Islam as their country’s official religion, Christian Post reports. “With the amendment, the seed of sectarian politics has been planted,” Nirmol Rozario, a Christian leader who attended the march, told Asia News.

“In a country where Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians also live, a single religion cannot proclaim itself as the state religion. We do not agree,” Rozario said.