By Jennifer Newton
Bangladesh could drop Islam as the country's official religion following a string of extremist attacks against people of other faiths.
The supreme court in the South Asia nation has began to hear arguments which challenge Islam's status as the official state religion.
It comes after a spate of attacks against people of other religions such as Hindus, Christians, and minorities Shi'ites, which have been blamed on Islamic extremists.
When Bangladesh was formed in 1971 after the nation split from Pakistan, it was declared a secular state.
However, in 1988 the country's constitution was amended with Islam declared as the state religion.
But this is now being disputed as illegal in the latest court battle and is being supported by religious minority leaders.
Meanwhile the US has also warned that ISIS is stepping up recruitment in Bangladesh, even though the government says the extremist problems are home grown.
One Bangladesh police official told Breitbart: 'We have made arrests on each and every so-called ISIS-claimed attack.
'The attackers have confessed their crimes in court. They have also confessed being a Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh member, and denied any linkage with ISIS.'
However an American director of National Intelligence has insisted attacks were the work of terrorist groups.
In a written testimony to the U.S. Senate James Clapper noted the claims of responsibility from ISIS for 11 high profile attacks on foreigners and religious minorities, and claims from the Ansarullah Bangla Team and al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent for killing at least 11 progressive writers and bloggers in Bangladesh since 2013.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has been in political ferment since the run-up to January 2014 elections.
They were boycotted by opposition parties, and over war crimes prosecutions brought against Jamaat-e-Islami leaders over alleged involvement in atrocities during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence.
Muslims make up some 90 percent of Bangladesh’s population, while Hindus account for 8 percent and other religions—including Buddhism and Christianity—make up the rest.