Religious Extremists Are Winning the Battle for Bangladesh’s Identity

Muslim devotees shout slogans during a protest over an alleged insult to Islam, outside the country’s main Baitul Mukarram Mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Oct. 15, 2021 (AP photo by Mahmud Hossain Opu).
Muslim devotees shout slogans during a protest over an alleged insult to Islam, outside the country’s main Baitul Mukarram Mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Oct. 15, 2021 (AP photo by Mahmud Hossain Opu).

On Oct. 13, as Bangladesh’s Hindu community celebrated a five-day religious festival, an image circulated on Facebook that showed a Quran placed on the statue of the Hindu deity Hanuman. The photo, which was taken at a shrine in the southeastern city of Comilla, was seen by some social media users as evidence of an act of blasphemy against Islam, and it inspired a mob to attack the shrine and several Hindu temples nearby. The incident became the opening salvo of one the deadliest periods of religious violence Bangladesh has seen in recent memory. Since then, mobs have torched and […]

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