The attention of Embassy of Bangladesh in Washington, D.C. has been drawn to an op-ed “Religious freedom under attack – U.S. can promote and protect liberty globally” by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley that appeared on his official website (https://www.grassley.senate.gov/) on 18 February 2020.
The Embassy is surprised to see that Senator Grassley has stated in his op-ed that citizens of Bangladesh live under authoritarian regime and face persecution for faith and religious beliefs. The Embassy strongly protests and categorically rejects the remarks made by Senator Grassley that are the farthest from the truth. Bangladesh is a secular democracy, where people from all faiths live in peace and harmony. The Embassy is extremely disappointed to see that instead of appreciating the democratic government of Bangladesh for sheltering more than 1.1 million Rohingyas from Myanmar, who were persecuted in their own country for their religion and ethnicity, Sen Grassley has opted for complete subjectivity to criticize the government (of Bangladesh) that actually saved their lives.
The Embassy expects that Senator Grassley would correct his narrative and understanding about Bangladesh based on facts and realities on the ground. The Embassy clearly states that the remarks made by Senator Grassley are not only biased and motivated but also absolutely contradictory to the 2019 Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
A few examples of religious freedom and harmony in Bangladesh are as follows:
Bangladesh is a country where festivals of major religious communities (Muslins, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists) are public holidays.
Hon’ble President of Bangladesh hosts reception for members of each religious community on the day of the festival.
Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina promotes a national slogan ‘Religion unto an individual, festivals unto all’. People from all faiths celebrate the festivals together, which is truly reflective of the spirit of secularism and non-communalism.
Verses from holy books of all major faiths are recited at the beginning of all important official programs.
The Embassy further states that Senator Grassley is welcome to visit Bangladesh and see for himself the values of democracy, freedom, openness, inclusivity, and religious harmony that exist in Bangladesh.