Islam should not be Bangladesh’s national religion and one day it will be dropped from the country’s constitution says a senior member of the country’s ruling party.
Abdur Razzak, of the Awami League, recommended that religion be withdrawn from Bangladesh’s constitution during a discussion at the National Press Club in the capital Dhaka on Nov. 12, reported the Independent.
“Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony. Here we live with people from all religions and Islam should not be accommodated as the state religion in the Bangladeshi constitution,” Razzak said.
“I have said it abroad and now I am saying it again that Islam will be dropped from Bangladesh’s constitution when the time comes,” he said.
“The force of secularism is within the people of Bangladesh. There is no such thing as a ‘minority’ in our country.”
Razzak said that he believed Islam had been maintained as the state religion for “strategic reasons.” The Independent stated that Razzak declined to explain what the “strategic reasons” were.
Bangladesh adopted a secular constitution after it became independent from Pakistan in 1971 but a military government in 1988 made Islam the state religion.
Although the Awami League reinstated secularism as a pillar of the constitution following a Supreme Court ruling in 2009 it kept Islam as the state religion out of fear of losing votes.
About 90 percent of Bangladesh’s population is Muslim, 8 percent are Hindus while the rest belong to other religions including Buddhism and Christianity.