Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday reiterated her call to Islamic scholars, imams and teachers, to prevent the misinterpretation of Islam and widely publicise that Islam does not believe in terrorism, militancy and killing people.
“It’s my fervent call to you all, including imams, Alem-Ulema alongside teachers, to immensely publicise in mosques, schools, colleges, and universities of the country that Islam is a religion of peace, and it doesn’t believe in terrorism, militancy and killing people. Please continue to do that as people attentively listen to your words,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this while addressing the National Imam Conference held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital.
Chaired by Religious Affairs Minister Principal Matiur Rahman, the function was addressed, among others, by Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Parliamentary Standing Committee chairman on Ministry of Religious Affairs Bazlul Haque Harun.
Religious Affairs Secretary Md Abdul Jalil delivered the address of welcome. Director General of the Bangladesh Islamic Foundation Shamim Mohammad Afzal also spoke at the programme organised by Bangladesh Islamic Foundation.
The Prime Minister handed over prizes among the best Imams and the winners of the National Children-Juveniles Cultural Competition.
Noting that the country’s people, the children and the youth forces must be protected from the cruses drug addiction as well as terrorism and militancy, Hasina said, “If you (imams, Alem-Ulema and teachers) properly convince people, then we’ll be able to fully root out terrorism and militancy from the country.”
Hasina said she had already urged teachers and guardians to seriously look whether any student remains absent for long in their respective educational institutions without any valid reason.
“Maintaining peace and stability is necessary to maintain the pace of development and this is possible through eradication of terrorism and militancy,” she said adding that the law enforcement agencies have been working tirelessly to this end.
She said, “Our people will live in peace, Islam is a religion of peace and Insha Allah, we want to show the world that only Bangladesh would be able to spread the real essence of Islam among people through establishing peace so that they could live in such a way….,”
The Prime Minister observed that there are a lot of chaos, killings, bombings in Muslim-majority countries and such countries are witnessing the use of maximum arms. “But, where such arms are being produced and who are being benefited. Battlefields are being made, Muslims had to shed blood, but who are being benefited through selling arms, we’ll have to think about this.”
Sheikh Hasina said some people through resorting to terrorism and militancy have been maligning the holy religion Islam.
Highlighting various steps taken by her government for the spread of Islam in the country, she said the work for setting up model mosque-cum-Islamic cultural centre will soon start at district and upazila levels with support from Saudi government.
Works are underway to prepare a database incorporating the information of the country’s all mosques, madrashas, khankahs and Islamic institutions, she said.
The Prime Minister said the enlisted members of the Imam-Muajjin Welfare Trust could now take interest-free loans for their welfare while plan is also there to set an Economic Zone to be operated exclusively by Alem-Ulema to boost their economic activities.
In a bid to expand the working field of Alem-Ulema, Hasina said, the Islamic Foundation could initiate process for appointing Alem certified by them in each of halal food and product-manufacturing organisations considering the growing global demand.
It is also in consideration of the government to introduce Arabic education course in each district.
She said some six lakh imams and Muajjins have been working in 3 lakh mosques while Islamic Foundation has been providing foundation training and on various socio-economic affairs to the imams.
“Some 1,80,429 Alem have so far received training on computer and creating mass awareness on basic socio-economic Affairs from the Islamic Foundation,” she added.