DHAKA – Seeing Da`wah as part of every Muslim duty towards his faith, Bangladeshi Muslims have been calling for resuming da`wah to Allah works in the southern eastern Asian country, banned since the Awami League government took helms of power in 2009.
“I have been attending and lecturing hundreds of ‘Waj Mahfil’ throughout the Bangladesh every year. Thousands of people were taught about Islam and Islamic teachings, values and sprits through the ‘Waj Mahfil’ (Dawah conference),” Maulana Abdus Sobhan, president of Jamiatul Mufassirin Bangladesh, an organization of Mufassirin, told OnIslam.net.
“But 95 percent ‘Waj Mahfil’ was stopped due to government restrictions over the recent years,” he added.
For decades, da`wah activities flourished in Bangladesh where mass gatherings (known as Waj Mahfil) were attended by thousands of Muslims interested in getting Islamic education, values and spirits.
The situation has changed after Bangladesh’s secular Awami league took the helms of power in January 2009, deciding to stop da`wah activities in mosques across the country.
One of the key events stopped over the past five years was the 5-day Waj Mahfil, organized annually by the Islamic Social Welfare Council Chitagong since 1977.
The event used to draw tens of thousands of attendants, including Muslims and non-Muslims, every year.
“Due to the government restrictions, we didn’t organize the 5day long ‘Waj Mahfil’ in Chitagong since 2007,” advocate Nasir Uddin Ahmad Chowdhury, secretary of Islami Samaj Kalayn Parisad Chitagong (Islamic Social Welfare Council Chitagong), told OnIslam.net.
“Local and police administration didn’t permission to organize the ‘Waj Mahfil’ since 2007,” Faruque Ahmad Sahin, office secretary of the council, told OnIslam.net.
Along with banning da`wah activities, many preachers accused the Bangladeshi government of putting hundreds of scholars and preachers in jail.
“In Bangladesh, winter is a season of ‘Waj Mahfil’, but this type of ‘Waj Mahfil’ could not be held due to local police restrictions,” principal Abdus Samad, a retired teacher and preacher of Islam, told OnIslam.net.
He added that a large number of Muslim scholars were put behind jail bars by government authorities.
Maulana Abdus Sobhan, preacher of Islam, added that hundreds of Ulemas and preachers of Islam were arrested by the secular government over the past five years.
“Due to government restrictions large number of da’wah conference didn’t held in Bangladesh recent years,” Rashed Newaj Bhuiyan, a young entrepreneur, told this OnIslam.net.
Advocate Nasir urged the government cooperation to restore the key da`wah event.
“We want government co-operation for holding the ‘Waj Mahfil’,” he added.
Bangladesh is the world's third-largest Muslim majority nation with a population of some 148 million.
The current Awami League government has been facing accusations of trying to of “de-Islamize” the country and turn it into a secular state.
Bangladesh has been in turmoil over the trial of Islamist leaders on alleged war crimes during the 1971 independence war.
Tension further escalated over postings by bloggers seen as defaming Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).
The turbulence also followed constitutional amendments that eliminated the state principles of absolute trust and faith in Allah the Almighty.
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