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First phase of Ijtema begins

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Thousands of Musallies offered Juma prayers on the first day of Biswa Ijtema at Tongi's Turag Riverbank.

UNB, Gazipur :
The three-day first phase of Biswa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of Muslims after Hajj, began on the bank of the Turag River at Tongi here after Fajr prayerson Friday.
The ijtema began with 'a'm bayan' (general sermons) by Jordanian Islamic scholar Maulana Sheikh Umar which was translated in Bangla by Maulana Abdul Matin.
Thousands of Muslims attended the Juma prayers conducted by Hafez Mohammad Jubayer, Imam of Kakrail Mosque.
Maulana Mohammad Hossain conducted bayan after Juma prayers and Maulana Mohammad Rabiur Haque after Maghrib prayers. Thousands of Muslim devotees from 16 districts of the country are taking part in the religious congregation. Some 3,919 devotees from 79 countries reached Ijtema ground till 10:30am.
Meanwhile, a devotee, Kazi Azizul Haque hailing from Shalikha upazila in Magura district, died at Tongi Government Hospital around 11:30pm on Thursday after he fell sick at the Biswa Ijtema ground.
The first phase of 53rd Biswa Ijtema will endon Sundaywith the Akheri Munajat.
Police took a five-tier security measure for the Biswa Ijtema to ensure overall security.
Besides, special measures were taken to ease the traffic system. Around 50 CCTVs were installed there to monitor the Ijtema ground and the adjoining areas.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Railway (BR) made arrangements to operate special trains on different routes of the country to facilitate the movement of Muslim devotees of the Biswa Ijtema.
Earlier, there had been a hiccup over the joining of Indian scholar Maulana Saad Kandhalvi in the first phase of the Biswa Ijtema.
The opposition to the participation of the top Indian scholar of Tabligh Jamaat in the Ijtema by Hefajat-e-Islam Bangladesh had created a crisis over the congregation.
However, the dispute was settled following a government intervention. It was decided at a meeting at the Home Ministry on Thursday that Saad Kandhalvi will not join the Ijtema.
A large number of Tabligh Jamaat men put barricade on Airport Road intersection from12 noon to 4:30 pmon Wednesdayprotesting the arrival of the Indian Tabligh Jamaat scholar to take part in the Biswa Ijtema following his controversial comments about religious issues, creating huge tailbacks in the area.
The second phase of Ijtema will be held from January 19 to 21. The Bishwa Ijtema is being arranged by the River Turag since 1967.

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