We have seen what can happen when the teachings of Islam are twisted by militants and extremists to try to justify hated and violence
With the holy month of Ramadan around the corner, now is the perfect time to meditate on the true meaning of Islam, a religion of peace, as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said when laying the foundation stone for the project to build 560 model mosques across the country, in a bold and far-reaching initiative to ensure that the true meaning of Islam is heard all around the country.
It is an unfortunate fact that all too often the true teachings of Islam get twisted by those seeking to advance their own retrogressive agendas.
Even worse, we have seen what can happen when the teachings of Islam are twisted by militants and extremists to try to justify hated and violence.
The need of the hour is to dispel these misconceptions, and stand up against extremists who would try to hijack the true Islamic message of peace.
That is why the government’s initiative to build model mosques across the country to teach Islam accurately and correctly is an important and commendable undertaking.
It is worth noting that even though it was Saudi Arabia who had initially pledged to fund the project, the Bangladesh government is now going ahead on its own without any need for the Saudi money.
This is good. With money, as we know, comes influence. This way the government will be able to ensure that the mosques that are built will not turn into platforms for extreme and retrograde interpretations of Islam, which have gained far too much currency in recent years due in large part to the unchecked flow of funding from outside Bangladesh.
These model mosques, since they will operate under government supervision, have an opportunity to bring about a spiritual revival, and stand against the narrow-minded, intolerant, and non-inclusive preaching of messages that are sometimes heard from misguided clerics.
We are a Muslim-majority country, and there is no doubt that the opinions of religious authorities matter a great deal.
The model mosques can therefore be a serious force for good in society.
Let us hope that they live up to their promise.