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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 04/08/2013
BANGLADESH
Bangladesh, Prime Minister: No to a law against blasphemy
Interviewed by the BBC, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the country is "a secular democracy" in which "everyone has the right to practice their religion." For days, supporters of the Islamist party have been calling for a blasphemy law that prescribes the death penalty for those who offend Muhammad and Islam.

Dhaka (AsiaNews / Agencies) - "Bangladesh does not need laws against blasphemy" according to Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the country, responding to the demands of radical Islamists to create ad hoc laws to punish those who offend Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. On April 6 hundreds of supporters of the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami demonstrated to demand the death penalty for perpetrators of blasphemy, and the creation of a law similar to those existing in Pakistan.

The Muslim fundamentalists have given the government an ultimatum of three weeks to approve an anti-blasphemy law and hand out a heavy punishment to the so-called "atheist bloggers" guilty of offending Mohammed and Islam.

In an interview with the BBC, the Prime Minister and leader of the Awami League said: "This country is a secular democracy. So each and every religion has the right to practice their religion freely and fair. But it is not fair to hurt anybody's religious feeling. Always we try to protect every religious sentiment. "

Last week, police arrested three bloggers. Human rights groups and activists from the secular and democratic movement Shahbag (to which those arrested belong, ed) have criticized the government, accusing it of bowing to pressure from radical Muslims. However, speaking to the BBC, Sheikh Hasina defended the decision of the police to arrest the three bloggers. Refuting allegations of pressure, the prime minister said: " If anybody tried to hurt any sentiments of any religion or any religious leader, there is a law. We can take any action."

Since the end of February more than 80 people have died in protests by supporters of the Jamaat, which together with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) continues to organize strikes (hartal) against the verdicts issued by the courts of war. Most of the victims died at the hands of the police.

In Bangladesh, Islam is the state religion, practiced by more than 89% of the population. Catholics are just 0.1%. The Constitution does not recognize Sharia law and guarantees complete freedom of worship, even if conversions to a religion other than Islam are often opposed.

 


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See also
01/05/2012 BANGLADESH
Teacher arrested for having a copy of a book by Taslima Nasrin,
07/30/2008 PAKISTAN
Muslim lawyer against manipulation in blasphemy cases
by Qaiser Felix
02/12/2010 BANGLADESH
The "prophet Jesus” arrested in Bangladesh: he called for war against Jews and Christians
by William Gomes
01/20/2015 BANGLADESH
Dhaka, Islamic State extremists arrested. Authorities on high alert
by Sumon Corraya
04/12/2005 BANGLADESH
Baptist clergyman decapitated

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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