Bangladesh cracks down on anti-Islam blogs

DHAKA (AFP) - Bangladesh has launched a crackdown on Internet sites for "hurting religious feelings" in the majority-Muslim nation amid protests by Islamic groups against "atheist anti-Islam" bloggers, officials said Thursday.

Giasuddin Ahmed, vice chairman of the country's telecommunications regulator, told AFP at least two websites had been blocked and authorities have also removed 10 other blogposts for "spreading hatred, provoking social disorder and hurting religious feelings of the people".

"We've taken the actions in line with the country's ICT (Information Communication Techlogy) act," he told AFP.

They have also asked blogsites to "moderate" their posts in an effort to filter out anti-religious writings, another official said.

The steps come after tensions rose in the overwhelmingly conservative nation over the alleged anti-Islam blog posts by blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was hacked to death near his home in the capital Dhaka last week.

In recent weeks Haider and fellow bloggers had launched huge protests demanding a ban on the largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and execution of its leaders for war crimes they allegedly committed in the 1971 liberation struggle.

Police have yet to comment on a possible motive for Haider's killing. But his brother said Haider was targeted by Jamaat's student wing for his online activities.

Fellow bloggers said a pro-Jamaat website had issued a veiled threat against Haider. Jamaat has condemned the murder and denied any role.

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