DHAKA (TIP): Bangladesh haslaunched a crackdown onInternet sites for “hurtingreligious feelings” in themajority Muslim nation amidprotests by Islamic groupsagainst bloggers seen as anti-Islamic, officials said onThursday.Giasuddin Ahmed, vicechairman of the country’stelecommunications regulator,told AFP at least two websiteshad been blocked. Authoritieshad also removed 10 blog postsfor “spreading hatred, provokingsocial disorder and hurtingreligious feelings of the people”.”We’ve taken the actions inline with the country’s ICT(Information CommunicationTechnology) Act,” he told AFP.
Authorities have also askedblog operators to “moderate”their posts to try to filter outanti-religious writings, anotherofficial said.Tensions have risen in theoverwhelmingly conservativenation over the alleged anti-Islamic blog posts by AhmedRajib Haider, who was hacked todeath near his home in thecapital Dhaka last week.In recent weeks Haider andfellow bloggers had launchedhuge protests demanding a banon the largest Islamic partyJamaat-e-Islami, and theexecution of its leaders foralleged war crimes in the 1971liberation struggle.Police have yet to comment ona motive for Haider’s killing.
Buthis brother said Haider wastargeted by Jamaat’s studentwing for his online activities.Fellow bloggers said a pro-Jamaat website had issued aveiled threat against Haider.Jamaat has condemned themurder and denied any role.Since Haider’s death,Bangladeshi social media hasbeen flooded with his allegedblog posts and those by otherbloggers mocking Islam,triggering protests by a numberof Islamic groups and clerics.On Wednesday up to 5,000Islamists rallied in the capitalDhaka demanding punishment –some calling for execution — ofblasphemous anti-Islam bloggers,police said. There were alsoprotests in other cities.
The groups have also called forprotests against the “atheistbloggers” in the country’s nearlyhalf a million mosques afterweekly prayers on Friday.The government has warnedof tough steps against those whoincite social tension, and urgednewspapers and blogs not topublish defamatory writingsagainst the Prophet Mohammed.It has also given policeprotection to some bloggers inthe wake of Haider’s murder,police and bloggers said.”Some newspapers, which arefunded by war criminals, aretrying to portray us as anti-Islam,” said Imran Sarker, ablogger who played a key role inorganising the protests againstJamaat and its leaders for theiralleged wartime roles.The killing of Haider was thesecond attack in Dhaka against ablogger critical of Islamistgroups in less than a month.