Staff Correspondent: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called upon the Imams (Islamic scholars) to work for maintaining peace at the grassroots so everyone can perform their own religions freely, describing Islam as religion of peace, amity and humanity.
“We want cooperation from you (Alem, Olama and Imams). You have to work for maintaining peace at the grassroots so we can develop the country further,” she said.
The prime minister was addressing the National Imam Council and prize giving-2023 ceremony as she opened the newly constructed 50 more model mosques and Islamic cultural centres in sixth phase across the country.
The Religious Affairs Ministry organised the function at the Bangabandhu Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Centre at Rupganj of Narayanganj.
The prime minister handed over prizes among the winners in various overseas competitions.
Sheikh Hasina said, “We want the people of our country to live in peace and the development of the country to continue,” adding that peace is prerequisite to the development.
She said there were people of other faiths in Bangladesh alongside the Muslim community and her government wants to ensure such environment where every people can exercise their own religions freely.
“We will perform our religious rituals while the people of other faiths will exercise their religions accordingly,” she said. The prime minister called upon all concerned particularly the Imams to make sure that no children of the country can involve them in militancy, terrorism and drug addiction.
“Make sure that none of our children get involved in militancy, terrorism and drug addiction as the Islam which is a religion of peace, cannot be questionable due to some people,” she said.
Imam of the Holy Masjid-e Nabawi in Medina of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Dr Abdullah bin Abdur Rahman Al-Bua’Yjan spoke at the function.
While speaking, the Imam expressed his satisfaction over establishing 564 model mosques across the country and thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“I am very happy to join such a mahfil (Islamic council) — the Allah will give the Prime Minister ability to do well further,” he said.
State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan chaired the event, addressed, among others, by President of Bangladesh Tarikat Federation Syed Najibul Bashar Maizbhandari, Maulana Dr. Mohammad Kafiluddin Sarkar Salehi and Maulana Ehsanul Haq Al Mojaddedi, also spoke.
Secretary for Religious Affairs Ministry Md A Hamid Zamadder delivered the address of welcome
An audio-visual documentary on the model mosques and Islamic cultural centres was screened at the function.
Sheikh Hasina thanked Imams gathered in the venue and sought blessings from them as she can continue serving the country.
“Pray for me as I can serve the people of Bangladesh. The ongoing development of the country will be continued and we can transform our country into a smart one,” she said.
Condemning the Israeli attack on Palestinians, the prime minister said her government has been working to put an end to the wars.
“We do not want war, we want peace and we want the development of the people, because I know the terribility of the war. We are working to stop the war,” she said.
In this regard, she referred to her repeated calls to stop the war and arms race at different international forum that included the recently held Global Gateway Forum in Brussels, the capital of Belgium on October 25-26
“The world is witnessing the Ukraine War and the attack on Palestinians by Israelis when children and women are being killed and we never want these,” she said.
The premier said they want immediate measures to stop the war and attack on Palestinian.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has already sent medicines and dry food for the women, children and people of Palestinian.
The premier said all the Muslims across the globe including Bangladesh, want to perform their religion properly.
“We want that all will live peacefully,” she said.
The prime minister said following the footprints of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the government has been building 564 model mosques and Islamic cultural centres at cost of Taka 9,435 crore across the country, aimed at reaching the true message of Islam.
With opening of 50 more model mosques yesterday, as many as 300 model mosques and Islamic culture centres out of 564 have so far been inaugurated across the country.
Earlier, she opened 50 mosques each in the first phase on 10 June, 2021, in the second phase on 16 January this year, in the third phase on 16 March, in the fourth phase on 17 April and in the fifth phase on July 30.
The construction of the remaining mosques and Islamic cultural centres is scheduled to be completed by June, 2024.
The model mosques and Islamic cultural centres include separate places for ablution and namaj along with air-conditioned system.
There will also be registration and training arrangements for Hajj pilgrims, Imam training centre, research centre and Islamic library, autism corner, ritual system before burial, car parking facility, hifzakhana, pre-primary education and Quran learning arrangement, conference room for Islamic cultural activities and Islamic dawat, Islamic books sale centre and boarding facility for local and foreign guests.
In 2017, the government has taken a project with Taka 9,435 crore for constructing Islamic Cultural Center and Model Mosque in every district and upazila as well as municipality of the country.
The prime minister later exchanged views with the cross-sections of people of the society.
Sathia Upazila of Pabna and Roumari of Kurigram were virtually connected to the event.
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