The government has started working on the mosque management committees in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country as it thinks the committee members and the imams can play a key role in uprooting militancy by educating the devotees about the radicalisation.
An intelligence agency has recently been tasked to look into the mosque committees alongside inspiring the Islamic scholars to raise their voices against religious extremism. Islamic Foundation is assisting the agency with necessary information, sources said.
The intelligence officials, divided in different zones, started gathering information on the committees two weeks ago, particularly to identify the radical preachers and those linked to Jamaat-e-Islami within the bodies.
According to a 2008 survey of the Islamic Foundation, there were 5,776 mosques in Dhaka alone whereas the total number of mosques across the country was 2,50,399.
The government thinks that the mosques can play a vital role in preventing the rise of militancy in the country. So before working with the mosque committees, the government wants to make sure that those bodies are free from members of Jamaat and radical groups.
Sources said that the intelligence agency is also taking help from the pro-Awami League members in the mosque committees.
The agency wants to complete preparing a list of the committees members by one and a half months, following which a high-power team will scrutinise their programmes and look into the activities of the suspected persons. They will focus on the persons facing criminal cases and having links to any radical group or Jamaat.
The government will launch its mosque-based initiatives including asking the authorities to reshuffle the committees after getting suggestions from the special team, sources said.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal refused to comment on the matter saying that it was an internal affair of the intelligence agency.
Sources in the Islamic Foundation said that the intelligence officials were taking help from the organisation in gathering information about the members of the mosque committees. The foundation runs mosque-based child and mass education programme.
When contacted, Islamic Foundation Chairman Shamim Mohammad Afzal said they were working on spreading the invitation of Islam to the doorsteps of the Muslims.
“It is not our job to gather information on someone. We are now trying to implement a plan regarding sermons before the Jumma prayers at district and upazila levels,” he said.
Sources said that Islamic Foundation recently directed all mosques to deliver sermons in Arabic as they appear in the Qur’an and the Hadiths.
Shamim said: “We want to bring the people to the righteous path, like what the Prophet (pbuh) did. For this, the Friday sermons must be given in Arabic, and there must be words on secular spirit.”