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US acknowledges Bangladesh’s liberal religious freedom

US acknowledges Bangladesh’s liberal religious freedom


The US State Department has published the ‘2022 Report on International Religious Freedom’ of various countries in 2022 on May 15, 2023. The annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom – the International Religious Freedom Report – describes the status of religious freedom in every country. The report covers government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals, and U.S. policies to promote religious freedom around the world. The U.S. Department of State submits the reports in accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. The report mentions several positive aspects of Bangladesh such as the government’s effort in ensuring security during religious festivals, positive treatment towards the minorities, installing CCTV cameras in Temples for security reasons, the Bangladesh Police’s effort in solving religious cases, the Judicial statement on Burkha, religious treatment in prison, interfaith harmony at the societal level etc.

According to the report, the constitution designates Islam as the state religion but upholds the principle of secularism. It prohibits religious discrimination and provides for equality for all religions. Family law, enforced in secular courts, contains separate provisions for different religious groups. On the one-year anniversary of October 2021 anti-Hindu communal violence, the government took extra security measures to ensure peaceful celebrations during the Hindu festival of Durga Puja. Courts convicted and sentenced to prison two members of the banned Islamist organization Jamaat-ul Mujahideen for attacks on the Shia community in 2015.

In February, the High Court asked the government to explain how Hindu family inheritance law, which differentiates between men and women in inheritance, was not illegal under the constitution. In June, a High Court judge said women have the constitutional right to wear a burqa or hijab. In its stated effort to prevent militancy, the government continued to provide guidance to imams on the content of their sermons.

However, this is the US acknowledgment of the Bangladesh’s liberal religious freedom.  Bangladesh is home to 170 million people who are multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multilingual. The Constitution of Bangladesh guarantees all citizens the freedom to freely and peacefully practice their chosen religion. According to probable estimates, religious minorities constitute about 12% of the current population of Bangladesh. Of these, Hindus constitute 10% of the population, Buddhists 1%, Christians 0.50% and ethnic minorities less than 1%.

Bangladesh is a real example of how people of different religions can live together and cooperate. Bangladesh is a country that values religious freedom, harmony and tolerance. The population of Bangladesh is made up of a wide variety of religious groups and ethnic groups. Such communities and groups live in harmony. Putting aside their differences and learning to embrace and respect the diverse culture has contributed to the equality of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh stands as a shining example as a country of unbroken social and religious peace. This country is an example of social harmony due to its rich culture of tolerance and respect among all irrespective of their opinions and views. Their liberal attitude contributed to the cohesion of the nation.

The government has stood by the minority community and helped recover the lost property before Dhaka’s famous Dhakeshwari temple. Bangladesh is also building a Buddhist pilgrimage site in Lumbini, Nepal to serve Buddhist pilgrims from around the world. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s administration manages all mosques, temples, churches, pagodas and gurudwaras in Bangladesh through the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Can anyone imagine a Muslim country building a Buddhist monastery in Nepal (religiously a Hindu country)? This recently built Bihar has set a clear example for all the countries of the world that Bangladesh is a role model for the world in communal harmony. Bangladesh government is keen to maintain Bangladesh as a non-communal Bangladesh.

For example, according to media reports, two people of different religions – a Hindu and a Muslim – in Khulna Division of Bangladesh set a precedent for communal harmony by behaving sympathetically towards each other’s religion. In Bagerhat district a Hindu man donated property to build a mosque and 9 Muslim leaders of the local Awami League donated a portion of their land for use as a crematorium. So that Hindus can use this space to maintain communal harmony in their communities.

Bangladesh can be regarded as the world’s champion and role model of communal harmony. Where people have been living here for a long time with inter-communal peace and trust. The world knows and appreciates the inter-communal harmony of Bangladesh. Bangladeshis adhere to the principle of ‘Religion belongs to everyone’s festival’; There is equal respect for all religions.

Bangladesh as a secular state strives to protect the rights of all ethnic and religious groups. Inter-communal harmony is synonymous with Bengali culture. It is one of the few countries in the world where Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and various ethnic tribes coexist peacefully.

The current Bangladesh government in inter-communal harmony. She makes every effort to participate in religious and cultural events. Anyone can see that she is dedicated to protecting the rights of all groups. Sheikh Hasina’s government is committed to ensuring this.

Hundreds of Muslim men, women and children line up every day for Iftar in front of a Buddhist monastery in Dhaka during Ramadan. The dharmarajika of that Buddhist monastery organizes Iftar in the evening during the holy month of Muslims.

This example of distribution of food to poor and destitute Muslims by the initiative of Buddhist Vihara is a shining example of social harmony between two groups of two different religions in this South Asian country.

Various religious holidays such as Eid for the Muslim community, Puja for the Hindu community, Christmas for the Christian community and the Bengali Mars procession on Buddha Purnima or the Bengali Mars procession at dawn on the first day of the new year are held simultaneously. Muslim festivals such as Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha, Mila Dunnabi, Muharram, Night of the Moon, Shab-i-Barat and Biswa Ijtema; Hindu festivals such as Durga Puja and Janmashtami; Buddhist festival of Buddha Purnima; The Christian festival of Christmas; And secular festivals like Pahela Baishakh, Navanna, International Mother Language Day, Independence Day, Rabindra Joy in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bengalis and non-Bengalis celebrate tribal holidays like Biju, Sangaria, Baisabi and others. Bangladesh has no religious or ethnic boundaries. There is everyone for everyone, there is no gap.

we can use Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s quote to give an example of how Bangladesh’s leadership views religion., Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, ‘I usually say that religion is a private matter, but the festival is open to all. Peace and friendship are our pride. Sheikh Hasina also said that the communal harmony that exists here for thousands of years must be protected at any cost.

Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity are the four major religions of this country. Muslims constitute about 88.3 percent of the population. The majority of Muslims in Bangladesh are Sunni; Although Shia Muslims constitute about 3% of the Muslim population. About 10% of the population is Hindu. Buddhists and Christians are the majority among others.

Hindus celebrate Durga Puja, Christians celebrate Christmas and Buddhists celebrate Buddha Purnima, other communities celebrate other holidays. These celebrations reflect not only the imprint of religion but also the imprint of society and nation.

The Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League’s slogan ‘Dharma Jaar Jaar, Utsav Sbarba’ has set a precedent for the international community as a testament to its secular values and is a shining example in South Asia of communal harmony.

The government provides ample security for religious minority celebrations, such as Durga Puja. In 2017, Durga Puja was held in more than 30,000 mandapams across the country, all of which went off without a hitch. Durga Puja will be held in 31,272 mandapams in Bangladesh this year. This reflects the general sense of security in the country, not just among the Hindu minority.


Despite the historically liberal Bengali culture established after the 1971 liberation war and the country’s secular foundations, the fate of religious minorities has changed depending on which political system is in power.

The Awami League-led government has taken several significant steps to maintain and improve the non-communal base of the country. In the country’s 1972 constitution, the Awami League, which led the liberation war under Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, included democracy, nationalism and socialism as well as secularism as a guiding principle of the state.

Since then, whenever in power, the A.L.I. has tried to protect the ideals as well as the interests and welfare of religious minorities. The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accords, signed by the PMSH in 1997, marked a turning point in peace efforts in the region.

In Bangladesh everyone has equal rights and no one is identified as a religious minority. Attacks on Buddhist communities in Ramu Upazila of Cox’s Bazar and attacks on various temples in Comilla are some isolated incidents in Bangladesh. Social media can sometimes play a negative role, as fake Facebook IDs have been used for communal attacks in the past.

There are some misconceptions, misinformation and propaganda about the decline and persecution of minorities in Bangladesh, ill treatment of Bangladesh government to the minorities which are not true at all. This idea is completely false. The US acknowledgment of the Bangladesh’s liberal religious freedom can stop the mouth of the propagandist. Bangladesh has been unfairly and baselessly portrayed as a nation that discriminates against minorities, especially Hindus. An isolated incident cannot be a symbol of the mentality of the entire people of Bangladesh. Senior government officials regularly visited several affected areas and assured members of the Hindu community that they would receive adequate protection and compensation for any damage. There are many ways to realize religious harmony in Bangladesh. Needless to say, Bangladesh is globally recognized as a moderate Muslim-dominated country.

Communal harmony prevails in Bangladesh. People of all religions gather at this place. This practice has been going on since ancient times. Muslims make up about 90% of the population, but Hindus, Buddhists and Christians also coexist peacefully here. It is a matter of pride for the people of Bangladesh in South Asia.

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