Minorities in Bangladesh Discrimination declines: US

Discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities in Bangladesh has declined, according to a report issued on Monday by the US State Department.

There was no incident in 2011of religious freedom being curtailed, as opposed to the scenario in the previous years, reads the International Religious Freedom Report, 2011.

However, the report mentions scattered attacks on religious and ethnic minorities perpetrated by nongovernmental actors and holds responsible “the low social status of religious minorities” for the continued discrimination.

The sporadic abuses have “little political recourse,” says the report.

It elaborated on the government effort into amending laws and policymaking in favour of all religious communities. An amendment to the constitution passed on June 30 established Islam as the state religion but reaffirmed that the country is a secular state.

The report also praises government steps to promote religious freedom, appoint minority people to higher government ranks and allocate funds for the major denominations — Hindus, Buddhists and Christians.

Under the civil law, Islamic fatwa could be issued given that it is not punitive. The report also cites some press and NGO reports on some incidents of discrimination and violence against minorities.

As the report notes, the only minority group that has continued to face violence and discrimination in the country is Ahmadiyya community.

Though the degree of violence against religious and ethnic minorities has come down, its existence concerns the US embassy in Bangladesh, the report states in its conclusion.