Staff Correspondent: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday hoped that the model mosques will help spread the essence of Islam and its inspirational practices and culture to all irrespective of their religions and castes.
“The culture and messages of Islam will have an enormous attention of all through these model mosques. The people of the country, irrespective of their religions and castes, will be able to comprehend the essence of Islam,” she said.
The Prime Minister made the remarks while addressing the inaugural function of 50 luminous model mosques newly-constructed across the country, fulfilling one of her election pledges.
She opened the 50 model mosques virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban on the occasion of the Mujib Year.
The landmark mosques have been built as part of the government’s move to set up 560 such mosques-cum-centres of excellence at district and upazila levels, aiming to spread Islamic fraternity, real Islamic values and practices, conduct research, create strong infrastructures for prayers for both men and women, provide religious teaching and training and enhance public awareness against social diseases. Hasina said Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country. “So, it’s essential that Islamic rituals and values are practised here properly in addition to promotion of Islamic culture.”
“We’ve already completed the construction of 50 mosques, out of 560, so that Bangladesh can also substantially contribute to preaching and spreading of our holy religion – Islamic – in the future,” she said.
The Prime Minister said today is really a delightful and glorious day as Bangladesh has emerged as a developing country following the footsteps of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who had served a lot for Islam and set up the Islamic Foundation.
She called upon all to be more conscious and mindful to keep this society free from the curses of child marriage, dowry, violence against women, and drugs. “You’ll have to create awareness against these (social menaces). We’ve built these model mosques in that way.”
Hasina said urged Islamic scholars (Ulema), teachers and guardians to make efforts to keep the young generation away from the path of militancy as it tarnishes the image of the holy Islam.
She said militancy has been allowed to grow in the name of Islam. “Killing people and unleashing militancy in the name of Islam were seen not only in Bangladesh but also elsewhere in the world.”
Mentioning that the militants believe that they will go to the heaven by killing people, Hasina said, “Can anyone say who has made his or her way into the heaven by killing people? No one can say that. But they (militants) have badly damaged the image of the holy Islam.”
Stressing that Islam is the best religion in the world, she said, the most unfortunate matter is that a handful of people has given a bad name to the holy religion by creating militancy, killing people and blasting bombs. “It not only undermines the sanctity of our religion but also tarnishes its image throughout the country,” she added.
The Prime Minister said Islam is the most tolerant religion as it allows all to enjoy their rights and teaches for treating all people as human beings.
Referring to the glorious history of Muslims in knowledge and science, she said the Muslims had once been the progressive community in the practice of knowledge in every sector. “But why’re the Muslims lagging behind today?” she said.
State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan chaired the inaugural function, joining it from Osmani Memorial Auditorium here.
Later, Hasina heard speeches from devotees virtually from model mosques in Khulna, Rangpur and Sylhet.
On April 5, 2018, Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone for the construction of Model Mosques and Islamic Cultural Centres involving Tk 8,722 crore.
The government is implementing the project with its own fund to fulfill the pledge Hasina made in the election manifesto before the 2014 national election to build a model mosque in every district and upazila of the country.
Besides, 100 more model mosques will be opened in the second and third phases by 2021, marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, according to officials of the project.
Each model mosque is being constructed on a 40-decimal plot under three categories.
Sixty-nine four-storey mosques are being constructed in district towns and city corporation areas under category-A, while 475 three-storey ones in upazilas under Category-B and 16 four- storey ones in coastal areas.
Each A-category mosque has 2360.09-sq feet of floor, while B or C-category mosques have 1680.16-sq feet floors each.
A district model mosque has enough space for some 1,200 devotees to simultaneously offer prayers. The upazila-level mosques can accommodate 900 devotees at a time.
Each spectacular mosque is costing Tk 15.62 crore in district town or city area, while Tk 13.52 crore in upazila areas and Tk 13.61 crore in coastal areas.
In a model mosque cum-Islamic cultural centre, there are separate prayer halls and ablution places for men and women.
The centres have Islamic libraries, Islamic book sale corners, training centres and pre-registration for hajj aspirants and Imams; Hifzkhana (where the holy Quran is taught and memorised by students) and the offices of Islamic Foundation.
Another significant addition to the mosques is autism corners and guest rooms for tourists (both local and foreign). They also have arrangements for Islamic research and religious activities and funeral activities. Besides, facilities are there for educating children and the mass people.
The mosques offer housing facilities for Imams and Muezzins and offices for its staff. One of the most interesting additions is the toilet facilities for the physically-challenged devotees.
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