Religious minorities

Authored by: Meghna Guhathakurta

Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Bangladesh

Print publication date:  February  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415734615
eBook ISBN: 9781315651019
Adobe ISBN: 9781317308775


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According to the 2011 census Bangladesh population constitutes the following proportions: Muslim (89.7 percent), Hindu (9.2 percent), Buddhist (0.7 percent), Christian (0.3 percent), Animist and believers in indigenous faiths (0.1 percent) (Bangladesh. Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics, 2014). Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, who constitute the major groups of religious minorities, are located all over Bangladesh and ethnically they constitute the majority Bengalis of the plain land, but also include ethnic minorities. Among ethnic minorities Chakmas and Marmas are predominantly Buddhists; Barmans and Tripuras, and some Santals are Hindus; others are animists, and Christianity is predominant in many indigenous groups, the largest being the Garos. Geographically, religious minorities are found in every district, although popularly the broader Khulna Division and coastal areas of the south are often known as the Hindu Belt; Buddhists are usually found in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Cox’s Bazar, Noakhali, Comilla and Patuakhali. Christians are located all over Bangladesh, but they have a predominant presence among the Garos who occupy the area around the Madhupur Forests and also among the smaller indigenous groups in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, especially in the Bandarban, the southernmost district of the Hill Tracts bordering Myanmar.

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