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PM urges alem, ulema to intensify campaign against militancy

DHAKA, Feb 9, 2017 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today sought extended supports of imams and Islamic scholors in stamping out terrorism and militancy to maintain social peace and keep the pace of development in the country.

"The people would listen to your advices and accept those . . . you earlier responded to my call to work against militancy and terrorism and you are working to this end. We want you would gear up the campaign to maintain peace and development," she told the National Imam Conference at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here this morning.

She added: "I have firm belief that we could certainly eliminate terrorism and militancy completely if you properly convince the people in this regard."

The premier identified terrorism-militancy and drug addiction as two biggest contemporary problems and underlined the need for steps to protect the countrymen, particularly the children and youths from these vices.

"Peace is essential to continue the trend of development and it would be maintained if we could contain terrorism and militancy," she said.

Islamic Foundation organized the event titled "National Children and Juveniles Cultural Competition and the National Imam Conference" with Religious Affairs Minister Principal Motiur Rahman chairing over the function.

Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Religious Affairs Ministry Bazlul Haque Harun, Secretary of the ministry Mohammad Abdul Jalil, Director General of Islamic Foundation Shamim Mohammad Afzal also spoke at the function.

Maulana Obaidullah Ershad, the best imam at the national level, also spoke at the function.

Describing Islam as the religion of peace, the prime minister expressed her firm optimism that Bangladesh would be able to spread the main essence of Islam among the people by establishing peace in the country.

"Bangladesh would be able to do this ... we want to show this to the whole world and we seek support from alem and ulema in this regard," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the power of the people is the biggest strength. "If they stay alert and put up resistance, terrorism and militancy won't exist in the country and the people would live in peace," she said.

The premier said Islam is the religion of harmony and brotherhood and the holy Quran and Sura Qafirun mentioned that the people would perform their respective religions. Great Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) asked to perform own religion and show honour to others religion, she said.

"But we feel pain, when innocent people are killed in the name of Islam and those who kill the people say that they would go to heaven through it. Believing this is a great sin as there is no place of militancy in Islam... it's a worldwide problem," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said a quarter is unleashing terrorism and anarchy across the world including Bangladesh in the name of Islam with whom Islam has no link.

"Islam is a religion of peace, harmony and humanity and this quarter is stigmatising holy Islam and making it questionable," she said.

The premier said it is unfortunate that the image of Islam is being

undermined and tarnished internationally as some people get involved in terrorism and militancy.

She said the expansion of Islam was made worldwide when the Great Prophet preached Islam and a huge imperial was built under Islam. "But the image of Islam is being undermined due to misdeeds of few number of people," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is such a country where people of different faiths are living. "They are freely performing their own religions by upholding the long tradition," she said.

She said if anybody remains on honest path or steps into wrong way, it is Allah who would make the judgement about him or her. "But we cannot keep trust in it and we take that judgement in our own hands by losing the faith and it's in the name of religion," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the use of arms is more in the Muslim countries which frequently witnesses killing and violence. "The Muslim countries are being created as war fields and think that who are benefitted from selling the arms to those countries ... I always speak and protest this," she said.

The premier said her government wants that the people of the country live in peace. "Our aim is that a single person would not suffer from hunger and become homeless... we want that every person would get healthcare and better life and we are running the state from that thought and spirit," she said.

"I always pray to Allah after prayers that every person could live with dignity whether it is urban or rural area and I could fulfill the demands of the people and just work for them," she said.

Listing various steps, the prime minister said the Awami League government has been working for the development and expansion of Islam in the country.

She said the government is contemplating about setting up an economic zone to be run under the supervision of alem-ulema in a bid to raise income through economic activities.

Besides, the issue of appointing an alem to be approved by Islamic Foundation, monitoring and supervising every organization, who are producing halal foods and products is under consideration.

"It would expand the working area of alem-ulema and increase the demand and acceptability of halal products abroad," she said.

The prime minister said the government has taken an initiative for

conducting a mosque-based specialised primary education programme titled "Darul Arkam" in Bangladesh.

She said the issue of introduction of Arabic language learning course in every district is also under consideration.

Sheikh Hasina said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had made outstanding contributions to serve Islam and he founded the Islamic Foundation and banned liquor, gambling, and "housi" horse race as well as unsocial activities.

She said Islamic Foundation had been implementing various programmes for the welfare of imam, muezzin and other religious leaders, while 1,80,429 alems have been provided training on fundamental issues of Islam, socioeconomic mass awareness and computer.

Sheikh Hasina mentioned that nearly six lakh imams and muezzins are

employed in about three lakh mosques of the country.

She said her previous government during 1996-2001 period constituted the "Imam-Muezzin Welfare Trust" and transferred all the 43 district offices of the Islamic Foundation and their manpower to revenue sector.

"We also launched extension and beautification work of the national mosque Baitul Mukarram as well as mosque-based Children and Mass Education programme," she said.

Coming to power again in 2009, she said, her government established an Arabic University and developed digital version of the holy Quran in Arabic, Bangla and English languages while hajj activities have also been brought under digital technology.

Sheikh Hasina said projects have been undertaken to establish model

mosque-cum-Islamic Cultural Centre in every district and upazila with the financial assistance of Saudi Government.

She said over Tk 1,505 crore have been allocated for the mosque-based Children and Mass Education Programme and 76,660 alem-ulema have been employed under this project, while 96.16 lakh students are getting opportunities of the mosque-based education.

The prime minister said some 4.50 lakh pieces of holy Quran have so far been distributed among the students free of cost. Academic buildings of over 1000 madrasas have been constructed and honours courses have been introduced in 80 madrasas, she said.

Besides, she said, 27,832 libraries have been set up to develop the

mosques as the centre of practising Islamic knowledge, while 21,520 mosques and religious establishments have been reconstructed and developed at a cost of Tk 38.73 crore.

Congratulating the winners and participants in the National Children and Juveniles Cultural Competition organized by Islamic Foundation, the prime minister said the children are the best asset of the country and they would be groomed as good citizens.

Earlier, she distributed crests and certificates among the six best imams of 2014-15 and 2015-16 at national level as well as the winners of the National Children and Juveniles Cultural Competition.

Later, a munajat was offered seeking continued peace, progress and

prosperity of the country and welfare of Muslim Ummah as well as eternal peace of the departed souls of Bangabandhu and other martyrs of August 15 carnage. Pesh Imam of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque Maulana Muhammad Mizanur Rahman conducted the munajat.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)