World’s 2nd largest congregation Biswa Ijtema postponed

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Dhaka, November 15: The upcoming Biswa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of the world’s Muslims, has been postponed.The decision to postpone the congregation was taken at a meeting between Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and leaders of the two factions of Tabligh Jamaat at the secretariat on Thursday afternoon.

Biswa Ijtema has been postponed as the national election is scheduled to be held on December 30 and the Ijtema devotees may face security problems after the election,” a top official of the Ministry of Religious Affairs said.

However, the official could not say when the next Biswa Ijtema will be held.

This year’s Biswa Ijtema was held in two phases from January 12-14 and January 19-21 on the bank of the river Turag, on the outskirt of the capital Dhaka.

When asked, Ministry of Religious Affairs Secretary Anisur Rahman said: “Any kind of gathering before the election is barred. At the same time, Tabligh Jamaat has internal feuds going on. Considering these things, the Bishwa Ijtema has been postponed.

“At the same time all kinds of programs of the two Tabligh factions have also been cancelled. They cannot conduct programs any kind. A six-member team from Bangladesh will go to India to discuss how the problem can be solved.”

After the elections, the two factions will sit together and set a date for the Ijtema and the government will take all necessary steps to help them.

The problems arose because of Maulana Saad Kandhalvi’s followers. His followers set January 11, 12, and 13 for the next Ijtema.

On the other hand, Maulana Saad’s opposition Hefajat Qawmi Scholars at a meeting on July 28 had fixed January 18, 19, and 20.

At the same time, both side fixed separate dates for programs at the district level and this led to a dispute between them.

On Thursday, apart from the home minister and his ministry’s officials, a number of leaders from both Tabligh factions, the prime minister’s Defence Secretary Mia Md Joynal Adedin and Inspector General of Police Mohammad Javed Patwary were present at the meeting.

At the meeting, Minister Kamal urged the Tabligh leaders not to fix a date for the Ijtema yet. “If the election takes place on time then there may not be any delay in hosting the Ijtema,” he said.

At the meeting both factions spoke in their own favour. One side said that Maulana Saad had agreed to his mistakes and apologized for it, while the other side said he did no such thing.

Tabligh Jamaat has been organising Biswa Ijtema, also called the World Muslims’ Congregation, every year since 1946.