Rashed Chowdhury

Attempts to compensate for Belarusian lack of national pride by turning the country into a fortress and uniting nationality and religion are “insane”, says Rashed Chowdury. “Belarus can be a Christian country, but it must never be a country for Christians.”

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When Belarusian journalist and editor Aliaksandr Zdvizhkou reprinted the Danish Muhammad cartoons in the opposition newspaper Zhoda he was sentenced to three years imprisonment for inciting religious hatred. Purportedly acting in the interests of the 30 000 strong Belarusian Muslim population, the authorities were clearly attempting to intimidate what little remains of an independent media in Belarus. Zdvizhkou has since been released, but the affair has brought to light another disturbing phenomenon: Islamophobia amongst the Belarusian opposition. Rashed Chowdhury reports.