Last Updated 26 Jan 2021

Religious Diversity in Bangladesh

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Bangladesh is a small country in Asia, with the major population to be Muslim (80%). However, it is also the home of other religious groups, mainly Hindu, with a population of about 16% and also Christians and Buddhists with small percentage. Minorities include Biharis and tribal; among the tribal Chakma is the largest. In general, this country never had major issues regarding religious diversity; but to know the opinion of people in general, we interviewed a Muslim housewife, a Christian woman working at a beauty parlor, and a Hindu university student. We asked them a number of questions about their religious festivals, faith, and opinion on other religions and cultural differences.

According to our gathered answers, the main two festivals for Muslims are- Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul_Azha; for Hinduism- Durga and Kali puja; for Christians- Christmas and Easter. Overall they all showed respect towards other religion and said that Bangladesh is receptive to diversity. The student felt that religion is indeed a major cause for unrest around the world. The opinion of the Muslim lady and the Christian student matched as they said that to keep peace intact, we should not criticize other religions and not say anything offensive about them. Everyone has their own belief and they are right on their positions. Therefore, we should not feel ourselves superior to others.

Regarding culture, there are a number of differences in eating habits, dress up and daily life. Bangladeshi people are fond of rice, vegetables and fish basically. However, Hindu people are fond of chapatti (a form of bread) and sweet dishes; Christians like wine a lot and they eat bread and drink wine to remember Jesus, this is called- Communion. Muslim ladies wear saree or salwar kameez mainly, and at times they wear a veil (knowh as nakab) to cover their faces. Hindu gents wear dhoti, a white cloth wrapped around the lower part of their bodies, and Punjabi during their puja or other various festivals. The marriages also differ significantly; Christian brides wear white on their wedding day, whereas in Hinduisim, white is worn by widows.

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Every religion is different. They are unique in their own ways, with the faith, colours and in their way of practice. There are many Masjids, mandirs, Temples and Churches in Bangladesh; all different in their decoration and followers. But at the end of the day, it all comes to one conclusion- Humanity. No matter which religion we belong to, or whether we worship ALLAH, RAM or JESUS- we are humans, created by the same God, and thus should live together in harmony, show respect to others and maintain an unbreakable unity, not only in the country, but also in the world as a whole.

Related article: Padma Bridge

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