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Bishwa Ijtema postponed

  • Published at 08:42 pm November 15th, 2018
File photo of Muslim devotees during the final prayers of Bishwa Ijtema on the banks of Turag River at Tongi on January 2018 Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

The government’s decision comes due to a dispute between two Tabligh Jamaat factions and the 11th general election

The government has decided to postpone Bishwa Ijtema, the world’s second biggest Muslim congregation after the Hajj, which was scheduled for January.

A government official says the decision has been made due to an ongoing dispute between two Tabligh Jamaat factions and the upcoming 11th general election, which is slated for December 30.

Held every winter in Bangladesh, the next Ijtema was supposed to be organized in the second or third week of January. About three to four million Muslims attend the congregation every year.

The decision to postpone the congregation was taken at a meeting between Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and leaders of the two factions of Tabligh Jamaat at the secretariat on Thursday afternoon, reports the Bangla Tribune.

Earlier, both Tabligh factions had announced the organizing of the Ijtema on separate days in January.

When asked, Ministry of Religious Affairs Secretary Anisur Rahman said: “Any kind of gathering before the election is barred. At the same time, Tabligh Jamaat has internal feuds going on. Considering these things, the Bishwa Ijtema has been postponed.

“At the same time all kinds of programs of the two Tabligh factions have also been cancelled. They cannot conduct programs any kind. A six-member team from Bangladesh will go to India to discuss how the problem can be solved.”

After the elections, the two factions will sit together and set a date for the Ijtema and the government will take all necessary steps to help them.

The problems arose because of Maulana Saad Kandhalvi’s followers. His followers set January 11, 12, and 13 for the next Ijtema.

On the other hand, Maulana Saad’s opposition Hefajat Qawmi Scholars at a meeting on July 28 had fixed January 18, 19, and 20.

At the same time, both side fixed separate dates for programs at the district level and this led to a dispute between them.

On Thursday, apart from the home minister and his ministry’s officials, a number of leaders from both Tabligh factions, the prime minister’s Defence Secretary Mia Md Joynal Adedin and Inspector General of Police Mohammad Javed Patwary were present at the meeting.

At the meeting, Minister Kamal urged the Tabligh leaders not to fix a date for the Ijtema yet. “If the election takes place on time then there may not be any delay in hosting the Ijtema,” he said.

At the meeting both factions spoke in their own favour. One side said that Maulana Saad had agreed to his mistakes and apologized for it, while the other side said he did no such thing.