Bangladesh starts monitoring mosques, madrasas
Bangladesh starts monitoring mosques, madrasas, IBN Live News
PTI | 07:08 PM,Aug 08,2012
From Anisur Rahman Dhaka, Aug 8 (PTI)
Facing threat from militants and extremists, Bangladesh has launched a nationwide programme for monitoring mosques and madrasas to ensure clerics follow guidelines issued by the state-run Islamic Foundation. "We have engaged our 40,000 staff having background in Islamic studies to monitor the mosques and see if the imams or khatibs are conveying our messages against militancy in line with the real Islamic teachings," Islamic Foundation's director general Shamim Mohammed Afzal told PTI. He said the foundation staff would join the Muslim's weekly special 'juma' congregations when the clerics were supposed to deliver lectures or sermons against religious extremism and militancy and highlighting the "spirit of love" against "hatred and violence". Islamic Foundation is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Religious Affairs working to disseminate values and ideals of Islam and carry out related activities. Afzal said the foundation earlier distributed several million copies of two books against militancy at the 270,000 mosques and over 100,000 madrasahs. The foundation officials said they have set up an anti-militancy cell and every week their officials monitor at least 10 mosques in Dhaka to see whether the clerics speak about militancy in their Friday sermons. "The officials were also tasked to motivate or request the independent clerics of the mosques to use their good offices and knowledge so that the youngsters were not lured by Islamist militants". Bangladesh witnessed massive emergence of militant outfits in 2004-2005 when the country was hit by a series of blasts killing dozens of people as the groups promised to establish Islamic rule of their own brands. The situation sparked fears that the world's fourth largest Muslim majority nation was becoming a militancy hotspot and prompted the subsequent governments to launch a massive security clampdown that resulted in trial and execution of six militant kingpins while dozens were jailed or were still being tried.