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Bengali Scholars Act on Blasphemy Unrest

Published: 01/04/2013 08:21:30 PM GMT
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DHAKA - In an effort to defuse tension caused by Islamophobic blogs, a group of Muslim scholars have submitted a list of bloggers accused of insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) to the Banglad (more)

DHAKA - In an effort to defuse tension caused by Islamophobic blogs, a group of Muslim scholars have submitted a list of bloggers accused of insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) to the Bangladeshi government.

“We met a group of Islamic scholars (today),” Mainuddin Khandakar, head of a committee formed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take action against anti-Islam bloggers, told Xinhua news agency.“One (scholar) gave us a list of 30-32 bloggers.”

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Tension has gripped Bangladesh in recent weeks over postings by bloggers seen as insulting Islam.

Troubles agitated after the death of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider who was hacked to death near his home in the capital Dhaka.

Dozens of people including Islamists died and hundreds were injured as violence that rocked the country after police forces clashed with thousands of protesters from Islamist parties.

Following the unrest, the government formed a nine-member panel to identify and take action against bloggers making derogatory remarks against Islam.

Khandakar said the government has already closed a website for “hurting religious sentiments”.

The move by the Muslim scholars comes less than a week before a march by an Islamist group in Bangladesh in protest at government inaction on anti-Islam bloggers.

Hefazat-e-Islam group said it would stage a Dhaka-bound long march on April 6 unless the “atheist bloggers” were arrested.

It also threatened to wage a tougher movement if the government used the state machinery in an attempt to impede its long march.

Trials

Seeking to calm tension in Bangladesh, Premier Sheikh Hasina pledged to take action against people found guilty of defaming Islam.

“You (Islamic parties) do not need to go for any movement,” Hasina said at a party meeting of her ruling Awami League cited by The Indian Express.

“As a Muslim, I have the responsibility to take action.

“We have already decided what action to be taken against those responsible for (internet posts and blogs) hurting people's religious sentiments.”

Bangladeshi authorities had earlier banned the YouTube website to prevent the viewing of a video insulting Prophet Muhammad, which sparked worldwide protests late last year.

The government had also shut down 12 blogs and Facebook pages in February for carrying out “malicious publicity” by Islamists as several leaders faced trial for crimes in 1971 independence war.

Death sentences against Islamist leaders on alleged war crimes during the 1971 war have caused deadly clashes in Bangladesh last month.

So far, three Islamist leaders were sentenced to death on charges of war crimes during the independence war.

The court rulings, however, triggered deadly protests in Bangladesh, which left more than 150 people dead.Bangladesh is the world's third-largest Muslim majority nation with a population of some 148 million.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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