Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Friday met with Hefazat-e-Islam chief Shah Ahmed Shafi at Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam, also known as the Hathazari Madrasa.
Before paying a visit to Hathazari Madrasa, the minister attended the annual religious congregation of Nanupur Obayedia Madrasa as the chief guest and performed the Jumma prayers there.
After meeting with the Hefazat chief, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters that it was purely a personal visit.
“I have attended the annual congregation of Nanupur Madrasa to keep a promise. I had wished to visit to the age-old religious institute as well,” said Kamal.
“I had no idea that the Madrasa is so large. I had no idea that so many students study in this institute. I had wished to see the institute for myself,” said the Minister.
“Allama Shafi is the most revered personality among the religious community of Bangladesh. As you know, he fell sick, so I had wished to visit him,” he added.
“We sought his blessings and he prayed for the country and his countrymen. He also prayed for the development of the country.”
When asked if the visit had anything to do with the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case verdict which will be delivered on February 8, the home minister said it was a completely unrelated matter.
“What will happen on February 8? The case has been following all judicial procedures and the verdict will surely be executed,” said the minister.
“I want to clarify that the people of Bangladesh are peace-loving and they do not like vandalism. So we believe that nothing untoward will happen with regard to the verdict,” Asaduzzaman added.
The home minister also said there was no political agenda behind the meeting, reiterating that he had only met the Hefazat chief to seek his blessings.
Controversial nonagenarian leader Shafi, who is known as Boro Hujur (the oldest cleric) among his followers, has been heavily lambasted by the progressive community for his highly prejudicial views on various social issues and for the radical Islamist platform’s pledge to Islamize Bangladesh.
Shafi is also the rector of Hathazari Madrasa and the chairman of Befaqul Madarisil Arabia Bangladesh, the largest Qawmi Madrasa board in the country.