Al Jazeera reports:
Hundreds of thousands of people have held protests in Bangladesh to demand that the government introduce an anti-blasphemy law that would include the death penalty for bloggers who insult Islam….
Supporters of Hefazat-e-Islam, an Islamist group which draws support from tens of thousands of religious seminaries [and that has the backing of country’s largest party, Jamaat-e-Islami], converged on Dhaka’s main commercial hub to protest against what they said were blasphemous writings by atheist bloggers, shouting “God is great — hang the atheist bloggers”.
“I’ve come here to fight for Islam. We won’t allow any bloggers to blaspheme our religion and our beloved Prophet Mohammed,” said Shahidul Islam, an imam at a mosque outside Dhaka ….
The bloggers, who deny they are atheists, have sought capital punishment for those found guilty of war crimes during the nation’s liberation war [including the leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami] ….
A well-known protester and blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, was killed reportedly by Jamaat supporters….
Zafar Sobhan, editor of the Dhaka Tribune, … said that … it was unlikely that a blasphemy law would be introduced … [and] that the march was less about a blasphemy law but was more of a reaction to calls for the death penalty for political party leaders being tried for war crimes….
The government has blocked about a dozen websites and blogs to stem the unrest. It has also set up a panel, which includes intelligence chiefs, to monitor blasphemy on social media.
Under the country’s cyber laws, a blogger or Internet writer can face up to ten years in jail for defaming a religion.
Thanks to Prof. Howard Friedman (Religion Clause) for the pointer.