U.S. Warns Bangladesh Against Undermining Religious Freedom

May 18, 2004

Source: Yahoo! News


On May 18, 2004 Yahoo! News posted an Agence France Presse article that reported, "The United States warned Muslim-majority Bangladesh against undermining social and religious harmony in the country, where the Muslim Ahmadiyya sect's publications were banned in January. 'In keeping with Bangladesh's constitution, religious minorities must be protected, not stigmatized or victimized by book bannings and attacks on their places of worship,' Christina Rocca, the US assistant secretary of state for South Asia, told a meeting of American investors in Dhaka on Tuesday. 'Measures to undermine social and religious equality and promote disharmony are viewed with great concern from outside Bangladesh,' Rocca said on the start of a three-day visit. The Ahmadiyya sect's publications were banned in January by the government after pressure from rival Islamic hardliners. Zealots have repeatedly tried to attack mosques of the Ahmadiyya sect and the government has refused calls to declare them non-Muslims."