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Religion of Bangladesh

The main religion in Bangladesh is Islam (89.7%), but a significant percentage of the population adheres to Hinduism (9.2%). The majority of Muslims are Sunni. Many people in Bangladesh practice Sufism, as historically Islam was brought to the region by Sufi saints. There are also followers of the Deobandi movement, and Ahle Hadith. The largest gathering of Muslims in the country is the Bishwa Ijtema, held annually by the Tablighi Jamaat. There are also a small number of Muslims, numbering some 100,000 belonging to the Ahmadiyya community. Sufi influences in the region go back many centuries. Other religious groups include Buddhists (0.7%, mostly Theravada), Christians (0.3%, mostly of the Roman Catholic denomination), and Animists (0.1%). Bangladesh has the fourth largest Muslim population after Indonesia, Pakistan, and India, with over 135 million. Bangladesh was founded as a secular state, but Islam was made the state religion in the 1980s. But in 2010, the High Court held up the secular principles of the 1972 constitution. The High Court also strengthened its stance against punishments by Islamic edict (fatwa), following complaints of brutal sentences carried out against women by extra-legal village courts.