Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called upon the Hajj pilgrims and Alem-Ulema (Islamic scholars) to move forward to contribute in building a modern and knowledge-based developed nation by keeping the children away from militancy and terrorism.
“I urge you (Hajj pilgrims) and Alem-Ulema to stand boldly against militancy and terrorism so our children can stay aside from it and equip with modern-technology to build a developed Bangladesh,” she said.
The premier made this call while inaugurating Hajj Programme-2023 (1444 Hijri) at the Hajji Office in the capital’s Ashkona area as the chief guest.
She said Islam is a religion of peace and it is always a religion of welfare of people which ensures the rights of people.
Mentioning that Islam is being denounced because of few people, who perpetrate militancy and terrorism in the name of Islam, she said, “Actually those people who create militancy and terrorism they have no religion.”
Sheikh Hasina noted that the people who are creating militancy and terrorism exist in all religions.
“If someone thinks they will go to heaven by killing innocent people, it will never happen. Almighty Allah didn’t say it, and our Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) also didn’t say it,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina continued that “Our Islam is the best religion of the world and these few people are becoming the reason for denouncement of Islam.”
She opined that everybody has to take initiative to stop these people from doing this (heinous) job.
“All of us have to be aware of our children,” she added.
The Prime Minister also sought doa from the hajj pilgrims for her younger sister Sheikh Rehana and other family members.
“My biggest demand to you (hajj pilgrims) is that you people will pray for my people of Bangladesh so that none could play ducks and drakes with the fate of them,” the premier said.
She also urged the hajj pilgrims to pray for keeping Bangladesh and its people protected from any manmade or natural disaster.
“I would like to request you to pray so that any disaster or crisis -either it manmade or natural- can’t damage Bangladesh and the people of Bangladesh,” Sheikh Hasina said.
The Prime Minister said manmade disaster alongside natural calamity happens in Bangladesh as the people are killed here by resorting to arson violence and setting transport vehicles on fire.
She asked the pilgrims to pray so that the development and the current progress of Bangladesh would continue in the future.
The first hajj flight is scheduled to depart from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for Saudi Arabia at 3:20am on Sunday.
This year, a total of 122,221 pilgrims from Bangladesh are going to perform the holy hajj. The number of hajj pilgrims from Bangladesh was 57,585 last year due to Covid-19 restriction.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, 127,198 pilgrims from Bangladesh performed hajj in 2019.
The Hajj is expected to be held on June 27 depending on the sighting of the moon.
State Minister for Religious Affairs Md. Faridul Haque Khan, MP, presided over the function while secretary of the ministry Kazi Enamul Hassan delivered welcome address.
State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism M Mahbub Ali, Habib Hasan, MP, Saudi Ambassador to Bangladesh Essa Yussef Essa Al Dulaihan and president of Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) Shahadat Hossain Taslim also spoke on the occasion.
At the outset of the ceremony, a video documentary on Hajj Management was screened.
The Prime Minister said that her government by working tirelessly day and night today has been able to bring Bangladesh in a position where the people of the country at least can eat food.
Mentioning that not a single person of Bangladesh will be homeless or landless, she said, “I am implementing the dream of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.”
Wishing the pilgrims good health during the hajj, Sheikh Hasina said that you people are going to the House of Allah as guests of Allah as well as to Makkah-Madinah Sharif. “We pray that you may perform Hajj in a safe, healthy and beautiful manner as well as you can return to your country in good health.”
She said that they have introduced “e-hajj management” to reduce the suffering of hajj pilgrims.
Now, all the activities of hajj such as pre-registration, registration, refund, Makkah road service, e-health, e-visa, flight, help desk, call centre, agency profile management are being done under e-hajj management, she said.
The premier said hajj related notification is being provided to each hajj pilgrim through SMS alongside the call centre 16136 from here and the pilgrims can know everything through dialing call.
She also mentioned that they have enacted Hajj and Umrah Management Act-2021 which has made the hajj management easier.