On Monday, in Dhaka, I received a friendly rebuke from the Bangladeshi Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism, Faruk Khan. I had described Bangladesh as a moderate Muslim nation.
''No.'' he replied. ''Bangladesh is not a moderate Muslim nation.''
He paused for effect.
''We are a democracy. Bangladesh is a secular nation. Although the majority of the population is Muslim, we do not operate under sharia law. We honour the major religious holidays of Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, not just Muslims.'' Advertisement
We were talking at a reception in the Australian High Commission in the capital, and the mood was convivial. The minister was even wearing a cravat. (continue reading...)