Dhaka, Bangladesh (CNN) -- The streets of Bangladesh's capital rang with the sound of gunfire, explosions and tear-gas canisters Sunday as Islamist protesters demanding laws against blasphemy battled police, leaving four dead.
Tens of thousands of supporters of the Hefazat-e-Islam movement blocked nearly all the roads leading into the capital, Dhaka, as they pressed a list of demands, including the anti-blasphemy statute. Clashes broke out when Hefazat activists tried to break a police cordon.
Street battles went on for hours, with police firing rubber bullets and tear gas and the Islamists hurling crude explosives and chunks of brick. At least three bodies were left in the streets, and one more person was reported dead at a hospital. Police said scores of people were hurt, including police officers and journalists. . . .
Sunday's demonstrators called for tough laws against bloggers and writers who they believe insult the Prophet Mohammed. A similar demonstration in February left four other people dead.
Hezafat's call for an anti-blasphemy law is aimed at a group of bloggers, online activists and authors they have called "atheists" and accused of denigrating Islam and Mohammed. Online activists who had a pioneering role in organizing the Shahbagh sit-in have denied they are atheists. (Continue Reading.)
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Four Dead as Mob Demands Sharia Blasphemy Laws in Bangladesh
When I say that Islam doesn't allow freedom of speech, I'm called a "racist," a "hate-monger," a "bigot," and, of course, an "Islamophobe." But what will my critics say about Muslims who demand Sharia blasphemy laws? Are these Muslims "bigots" and "Islamophobes" because they don't believe Islam allows freedom of speech?