Maulana Fariduddin Masud, a noted Islamic thinker, recommended the award and demanded a monthly allowance of Tk5,000 for imams and Tk3,000 for muezzins
Olamas on Sunday urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to award Shah Ahmed Shafi, chief of Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh, with the Swadhinata Padak, the highest civilian award in the country.
Maulana Fariduddin Masud, a noted Islamic thinker, recommended the award and demanded a monthly allowance of Tk5,000 for imams and Tk3,000 for muezzins.
He made the call at a reception in Dhaka arranged to honour the prime minister for recognizing the Dawra-e-Hadith (Takmil) highest degree equal to a post-graduation.
The Swadhinata Padak was introduced in 1977 to award people and organizations for their contribution during the Liberation War of Bangladesh.
In his written speech, Shah Ahmed Shafi said there is no way to consider his strategies and decisions from political perspectives; that there was no way to misinterpret or spread falsehood over his statement, adding that he does not hold any political identity.
“Hefazat-e-Islam and I do not have any involvement with any political platform or party. The main aim of Hefazat-e-Islam is to protect the Iman, Akida and religious values. We are going smooth with Hefazat-e-Islam’s morality and principles,” he said.
The Hefazat chief urged Muslims to be united as it is a demand of the time.
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 the Hathazari Madrasa and the chairman of Befaqul Madarisil Arabia Bangladesh, the largest Qawmi madrasa board in the country.
The Hefazat ameer was first criticized by many quarters after he, in a sermon, said women should take care of furniture, bring children up and stay within four walls of their house.
Hefazat was formed in 2010 and came to prominence by mobilizing opposition to the Shahbagh Movement in early 2013.
The platform then issued their now infamous 13-point charter, which included demands for a ban on the free mixing of men and women, candle lighting in the name of personal freedom and freedom of speech, and death penalty for atheists.
The other demands include abolition of the anti-Islamic inheritance law, “ungodly” education policy, and making Islamic education compulsory at all levels from primary to higher secondary.
The demand also included declaration of Ahmadiyyas as non-Muslims by the government and put an end to their negative and conspiratorial activities.
The 13-point charter also demanded an end in erecting statues at road intersections and educational institutions to save Dhaka, the city of mosques, from becoming the city of statues.