DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Bangladesh will retain Islam as the state religion in amendments the government is proposing to its constitution, a government minister said Tuesday.
A former military ruler declared Islam the state religion in 1988 by amending the charter, but it barely affected Bangladesh’s secular legal system mainly based on British common law.
The government says the proposed changes won’t affect the legal system. Inheritance and other family laws already are based on religion.
The decision was made late Monday at a Cabinet meeting, the minister said. Led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Cabinet also endorsed equal status and equal rights for other religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity, the minister said.
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A special government committee prepared proposals for the amendment, and the government will send those proposals to the parliament for approval.
Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan in 1971 with help from India through a bloody nine-month war.