Washington, June 10 (ANI): An Islamist group that demands the death penalty for 'atheist' bloggers insulting Islam is gaining support in Bangladesh.
Hefazat-e-Islam, a coalition of Islamic hard-liners, has called on the government to implement the group's 13-point agenda.
The agenda included abandoning policies that empower women, and wanted men and women segregated in public.
According to the Washington Times, Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said that Hefazat basically wanted to put women back in the Stone Age.
Hefazat-e-Islam draws its support from thousands of Islamic schools known as madrassas. Its spiritual leader, Allama Shah Ahmed Shafi, is based in Chittagong, south of the capital, Dhaka.
The rise of the group has caused alarm in Bangladesh. A senior journalist based in Dhaka, who reports on Islamic militancy, said people are scared by Hefazat's demands.
The the group receives support from the Jatiya Party and Bangladesh's main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which is led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, the report added. (ANI)