Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the entire nation to be vocal against those who are defaming Islam by killing, saying that these elements are making difficult the living of the pious people in the world, BSS reports. .
“The whole nation will have to be vocal against those who are undermining Islam by killing people, and the parents, guardians, teachers–everybody will have to stay alert so that their children don’t step into this wrong path,” she said.
The prime minister made the call while inaugurating Hajj activities-2016 (Hijri 1437) at Ashkona Haji Camp at Uttara in the capital this morning. Sheikh Hasina said Islam is the religion of peace, where there is no room for militancy and terrorism. “Islam is the religion of peace — it has been mentioned at every place from the holy Quran to the messages of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH),” she said.
“But I feel sorrow and pain when I see that some derailed elements kill people in cool head in the name of religion,” she added. In this connection, the premier mentioned that those who are killing innocent people are not doing good work for Islam. “Rather they are maligning Islam and creating a panic about this religion before others, and I don’t know what they want to achieve by killing human beings.”
Religious Affairs Minister Principal Motiur Rahman presided over the function, while Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Religious Affairs Ministry Bazlul Haque Harun, local lawmaker Advocate Sahara Khatun and Saudi Ambassador in Dhaka Abdullah HM Al-Mutairi spoke as the special guests.
Religious Affairs Secretary Md Abdul Jalil delivered the welcome address. The premier said Islam always speaks peace and tolerance as well as the rights to other religions. “But some derailed elements are defaming Islam by killing innocent people in the name of religion and my question is that for whose interest they want to protect and what they want to achieve through this,” she said.
Through this type of inhuman work, she said, these derailed elements are making living of those people, who perform religion, in the world difficult. The prime minister hoped that the honour and dignity of Islam will remain uphold in the world. “It’s my wish that the Islam would always take a place as the best religion in the world,” she said.
Renewing her firm resolve that there won’t be any place for militancy and terrorism in the country, the Prime Minister requested the pilgrims going to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj to pray for the countrymen so that they are freed from terrorism and militancy and live in peace.
“We love the country deeply and we want further development of the country … that’s why we seek your doa for the country and the people so that we could achieve the goal of establishing hunger and poverty-free Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Bangabandhu,” she said.
Spelling out her government steps for the welfare and expansion of Islam, she said whenever Awami League assumed office, it worked for the welfare of Islam following the ideology of the Father of the Nation. Sheikh Hasina said she personally performed Umrah for the first time in 1984. “I performed Hajj several times from 1985,” she said.
The premier said she witnessed and realized the problems in Hajj management, and whenever she formed government, she took measures to solve the problems. Sheikh Hasina said her government after assuming office in 2009 took initiatives for solving all irregularities and indiscipline of the past in all fields including transportation of Hajj pilgrims, housing arrangements in Makkah and Madina and healthcare.
“We have shifted Hajj wing to Bangladesh Hajj Mission in Makkah from Jeddah and also strengthened the Makkah Hajj Mission,” she said. The premier said her government took a five-year National Hajj Policy 2010-2014 that was a milestone for the development of hajj management.
“We have also framed the National Hajj and Umrah (Amendment) Policy 2016 making the previous policy more time befitting, modern and IT dependent,” she said, adding the present Hajj management is being conducted in the light of the amended hajj policy. As a result, she said, the number of Hajj pilgrims has been increased to 1,01,758 this year that was 47, 983 in 2006 and it has been possible due to implementation of massive development programmes by her government, she said.
In recognition of the government’s strides, Sheikh Hasina mentioned that the Saudi Hajj Ministry highly praised Bangladesh’s success in Hajj management over the last seven years.
She said Bangladesh secured first position among the South Asian countries in 2010 and 2011 in Hajj management thanks to providing better services to the Hajj pilgrims while the country also got recognition of the best Hajj management in 2014.
Citing the steps of her government in bringing a change in Hajj pilgrims registration process, the premier said the pre-registration process has been introduced in the National Hajj and Umrah Policy in light of the reality aimed at coordination with the Saudi e-Hajj system.
The premier said the government has made arrangements for registration facilities for the people who intend to perform Hajj at 5725 union digital centres across the country.
She said her government remains careful about illegal stay in Saudi Arabia in the name of Hajj. “There was an objection of the Saudi government about the issue and we have given proper attention to it,” she said, adding: “In this way, we have made Hajj management smooth.”
The premier asked the authorities concerned to give attention so that those who didn’t get scope for performing Hajj this year despite making registration can get priority in performing Hajj next year. Describing development of Hajj management a continuous process, Sheikh Hasina hoped that the trend of success in Hajj management would continue in the days to come.
Later, the Prime Minister exchanged pleasantries with the Hajj pilgrims and wished them good health and welfare so that they could perform their Hajj peacefully. Some 1,01,758 Bangladeshi hajj pilgrims are expected to perform the holy Hajj on September 10 (Jilhaz 9) this year as per the official data provided by the Religious Affairs Ministry.
“Of the hajj pilgrims, 10,000 pilgrims are expected to perform the Hajj under the government management and the remaining 91,758 under private management,” an official of the ministry told BSS on Monday. He said the government has made all preparations to operate Hajj flights from Dhaka to Jeddah from August 4 to September 5.
Earlier, the cabinet on January 11 approved the Hajj Package 2016, fixing the minimum cost for a pilgrim at Taka 304,903, up by Taka 8,697 from the previous year.
The state-run Biman Bangladesh Airlines is expected to carry half of the total hajj passengers, while Saudi Arabian Airlines would ferry the rest of the hajj pilgrims from Dhaka to Jeddah and no third carrier would be allowed as usual to carry hajj passengers.
The return Hajj flights would commence on September 17 and continue till October 15, according to sources at the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry.