Bangladesh | 17 April 2019

Bangladesh: Walking a tightrope

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With a host of new recommendations, Bangladesh"s minister of the interior hopes to curb hate-speech in Islamic preaching, reported UCA News on 2 April 2019. The move came after radical Islamic commentaries - via social media in particular - had intensified in the wake of the December 2018 elections. Thomas Muller, persecution analyst at World Watch Research, comments: "Although the goal to curb hate-speech is a worthy one and has led to a list being issued naming 15 Islamic speakers identified for monitoring, this approach comes with a risk as well. This is illustrated by the fact that one of the country"s most influential radical Islamic preachers is not included on the minister"s list: Shah Ahmed Shafi, chief of Hefazat-e-Islam (Protectors of Islam - an umbrella organization for madrassa schools throughout the country). Consequently, the lesson radical speakers may learn is that they only need to gather enough followers to make the government shy away from monitoring them. Another risk may be that such a move will make religious minorities like Christians even more likely to be targeted, since acting against "˜infidels" may well be viewed by radical preachers as a means of increasing both credibility and numbers of followers."


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