Muslim Congregation of Devotees Gather in B’Desh for Biswa Ijtema

Biswa Ijtema, the world’s second largest annual gathering of Muslims, is currently in progress near Turag River, Dhakha, Bangladesh from 15-18 February.

For four days, Muslims gather to pray for universal harmony, peace and fraternity reported United News of Bangladesh (UNB).

The Economist reported that millions of worshipers from over 100 countries are expected by the Bangladeshi government, although most are from Bangladesh itself.

In-fighting in the Organising Factions

The event has been peacefully organised by the Tablighi Jamaat since 1967, and has been celebrated in two phases since 2011 reported The Dhakha Tribune.

Tablighi Jamaat is a Sunni missionary movement founded in India in 1927. However, two factions of the Tablighi Jamaat have been arguing over the rightful leader of the movement.

One side considers Saad Kandhalvi, a Delhi-based cleric and the great grandson of the movement’s founder to be the true leader, while the other does not recognise his leadership.

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The latter is supported by the conservative Hefazat-e-Islam, an Islamic movement allied with Bangladesh’s government.

In 2018’s event, the opposing side blocked Kandhalvi from participating and blockaded the airport in Dhaka. But this year, The Economist reported that things hope to remain peaceful as Kandhalvi will skip the gathering.

However, Dhaka Tribune reported that the two sections will each have two days and will do their prayers with their respective leaders.

PM Hasina’s Message for Success

On February 14, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued a message greeting Muslim devotees world over for Bishwa Ijetma. She also sent a message of success for the gathering in Dhaka.

The first day of Ijetma falls on a Friday and so lakhs of devotees are expected to opper Juma prayers.

Preparations for the event include deployment of law enforcement agencies and “eight-layer security measures” reported UNB. There will also be free medical camps near the event for the devotees.

Visa Issues for Indian Muslims

Approximately 60% of Indian Muslims who always participate may miss the event his year said Maulana Gias Uddin, a senior member of the Bishwa Ijtema organizing committee to Dhaka Tribune.

"“If the conditions—which have been instated for the foreign Tabligh Jamaat guests who have the opportunity to get on-arrival visas—are relaxed, more devoted Muslims from different countries will be able to participate in Ijtema.”" - Maulana Uddin to Dhaka Tribune.

A lot of other foreign Muslims are facing the brunt of the stricter visa approval rules.

(With inputs from The Economist , Dhaka Tribune and United News of Bangladesh.)

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