Friday, April 11, 2008


Islamists protests women's law

Hundreds of members of a group campaigning for Islamic rule in Bangladesh clashed with police over a plan to give women the same inheritance rights as men.

Police fired teargas and used batons to break up the protests after members of the Islami Constitution Movement (ICM) threw rocks and stones as they emerged from Friday prayers at a mosque in the centre of the capital Dhaka, witnesses said.

A reporter said at least 100 people were injured in the protests that took place despite a ban on such gatherings under a state of emergency imposed after an army-backed interim administration took power in January last year.

Among the injured were cameramen of local television channels filming the protests and policemen, officials said.

A police officer described the scene as a
"virtual battlefield."

"All roads around the Baitul Mokarram mosque in the city centre were filled with white robed Muslim devotees since before noon despite strong presence of police," a witness said.

On Thursday, nearly 50 people were injured as members of the Khelafat Majlis group clashed with police in the capital over the same issue.

The activists' ire was triggered by reports of a draft law in the local media that gives equal inheritance rights, including property, to men and women.

The ICM, which is one of several groups campaigning for sharia-based laws in Bangladesh, said the proposed women's rights law was against a Koranic law of inheritance.

"We are not against women's rights, but it has to be according to the guidelines of Islam," said Mohammad Ismail, a protester.

"The draft that the government prepared is totally anti-Islamic. We will not allow it to be passed," said another protester Kawser Ahmed.


Pertinent Links:

1) Islamists protests women's law

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