BYU Law Review


The Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) has been a center for a variety of religious traditions. Its multicultural and multireligious character makes it a crucible for religious tolerance. The resurgence of local cultural and religious consciousness under the influence of modernity and globalization has resulted in increasing complications in relation to the interaction between religious traditions. Religious tolerance in independent Bangladesh also has always been a fundamental value. It has been cherished by the followers of all religions. The object of this article is to trace the history of religious freedom of religious minorities in Bangladesh. It also examines the controversy of the phrase of Bismillah-ar-Rahman-ar-Rahim, meaning “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful,” and the provision recognizing Islam as the state religion in the Constitution of Bangladesh. I argue that these are not inconsistent with secularism properly understood, i.e., a secularism that respects the equal citizenship (with equal human rights) of people of different faiths, but does not seek to banish religion from the public space.


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