Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday sought extended support of imams and Islamic scholars in stamping out terrorism and extremism to maintain social peace and keep the pace of development in the country.
‘The people would listen to your advices and accept those... you earlier responded to my call to work against extremism and terrorism and you are working to this end. We want you would
gear up the campaign to maintain peace and development,’ she told the national imam conference at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.
‘I have firm belief that we could certainly eliminate terrorism and extremism completely if you properly convince the people in this regard,’ she added.
The premier identified extremism and drug addiction as two biggest contemporary problems and underlined the need for steps to protect the countrymen, particularly the children and youths from these vices.
‘Peace is essential to continue the trend of development and it would be maintained if we could contain terrorism and extremism,’ she said.
Islamic Foundation organised the event titled ‘national children and juveniles cultural competition and the national imam conference’ with religious affairs minister Motiur Rahman in the chair.
Planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, parliamentary standing committee chairman on religious affairs Bazlul Haque Harun, secretary of the religious affairs ministry Mohammad Abdul Jalil, Islamic Foundation director general Shamim Mohammad Afzal also spoke at the function.
Describing Islam as the religion of peace, the prime minister expressed optimism that Bangladesh would be able to spread the main essence of Islam by establishing peace in the country.
‘Bangladesh would be able to do this ... we want to show this to the whole world and we seek support from ulema in this regard,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said, ‘If they stay alert and put up resistance, terrorism and extremism won’t exist in the country and the people would live in peace.’
The premier said that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked to perform own religion and show honour to others religion.
‘But we feel pain, when innocent people are killed in the name of Islam and those who kill the people say that they would go to heaven through it. Believing this is a great sin as there is no place of extremism in Islam,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said that a quarter was unleashing terrorism and anarchy across the world, including Bangladesh, in the name of Islam with whom Islam had no link.
‘Islam is a religion of peace, harmony and humanity and this quarter is stigmatising holy Islam and making it questionable,’ she said.
The premier said that it was unfortunate that the image of Islam was being undermined and tarnished internationally as some people got involved in terrorism and extremism.
Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh is such a country where people of different faiths live. ‘They are freely performing their religions upholding the long tradition,’ she said.
She said that if anybody remained on honest path or stepped into wrong way, it is Allah who would make the judgement about him or her. ‘But we cannot keep trust in it and we take that judgement in our own hands by losing the faith and it’s in the name of religion,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said that the use of arms was more in the Muslim countries which frequently witnessed killing and violence. ‘The Muslim countries are being created as war fields and think that who have benefitted from arms sales to those countries ... I always speak and protest this,’ she said.
The premier said her government wants that the people of the country live in peace. ‘Our aim is that a single person would not suffer from hunger and become homeless... we want that every person would get healthcare and better life and we are running the state from that thought and spirit,’ she said.
Listing various steps, the prime minister said that the Awami League government had been working for the development and expansion of Islam in the country.
She said the government was contemplating about setting up an economic zone to be run under the supervision of ulema in a bid to raise income through economic activities.
The premier said the government took initiatives to set up 100 economic zones across the country for industrialisation and generation of more employment.
‘Scopes will be given to those who want to set up mills and factories in the economic zones,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said that the government also had a plan to produce and process halal foods as the demand for such foods is going up in the world.
She pointed out that production of halal foods had already started in private sector.
Congratulating the winners and participants in the national children and juveniles cultural competition, the prime minister said the children were the best asset of the country and they would be groomed as good citizens.
Earlier, she distributed crests and certificates among the six best imams of 2014-15 and 2015-16 at the national level.
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