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World News

Bangladesh PM: 'Anyone who offends Islam will be prosecuted'

There's been widespread protests in Pakistan following the release of Christian mother Asia Bibi. She was accused of blasphemy but released on appeal after almost a decade in prison.

Speaking about the situation in her own country, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said: "Anyone who pronounces offensive comments against it [Islam], or against the Prophet Muhammad, will be prosecuted according to the law."

She did however speak out against Islamic extremists.

"There is no place for Islamic militancy, terrorism and corruption," she said. "Bangladesh wants to show that Islam is a religion of peace and wants to be a peaceful, prosperous and developed country."

Hasina was speaking at a gathering of Islamic schools in Dhaka.

While her comments have caused concern among the Christian community, religious freedom charity Open Doors says believers are more concerned with her alternative.

Next month, the country hold elections with a cross-party coalition looking to unseat the PM, who's been in power since 2009.

The coalition includes radical Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami.

Speaking on Premier's News Hour, Tamsin Taylor from the charity, said: "The prime minister has always stressed that she is running a secular country. What the Christians are worried about is the inclusion of the radical Islamists in this bid to unseat her."

Bangladesh is number 41 on the Open Doors World Watch List.

Attacks against Christians there are said to have increased over the past three years.

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