Saturday, January 28, 2006

World congregation of Muslims in Bangladesh

The eastern bank of the river Turag, some 25 kilometres north of the capital city, turned into a human sea with the presence of about 15 lakh devotees from around the globe.

The first day of the three-day Biswa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of Muslims after the Holy Hajj. Organised by the Bangladesh Tablighi Jamaat, the Ijtema started with sermons after Fajr prayer delivered by Islamic scholars from different countries.

More than 2500 Muslims from 52 countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and the Middle East, have already arrived at the Ijtema venue, a 160-acre area, to attend the three-day 41th Ijtema. It is expected that more than 3 million devotees from over 70 countries of the world, including host Bangladesh, will attend the final prayer, Akheri Munajat, on Sunday to pray for the unity and prosperity of the Muslim Ummah.

Ijtema is now a symbol of the unity of all Muslims, an opportunity to demonstrate their mutual solidarity, love and respect and to reiterate their commitment to the Islamic values of discipline, brotherhood and magnanimity. Ijtema is the largest congregation of Muslims next to the Hajj.

>> Millions gather for Islamic prayer - CNN

Maulana Shamim from Delhi delivered the main ‘bayan’ (sermon) after Fajr prayer while Maulana Hafez Jobayer, Khatib of Kakrail Jame Mosque led the Jumma prayer. Maulana MD Ali from Delhi delivered sermon after Jumma prayer, Maulana Jobayerul Hasan from Delhi delivered sermon after Asr prayer while Maulana Hazi Abdul Ohab from Pakistan delivered sermon Magrib prayer.

Maulana Sha’d and Maulana Abdul Salim from Delhi, Maulana Faruque of Bangladesh also delivered sermons.

The sermons are given in Arabic, Bangla, English, Hindi, Urdu and some other languages. Like in previous years, the congregation this year will also feature marriages without dowry.

Background

Viswa Ijtema mammoth Muslim religious congregation organised annually by the tabligh Jama'at Bangladesh. 'Ijtma' is an Arabic word and means public gathering. Ijtema has been held every year since 1966 on the bank of the river turag near Tongi. The Ijtema at Tongi is now known as the Viswa Ijtema (world congregation). It is an annual meeting place of Muslim pilgrims from various countries of the world for special prayers. Its main objectives are to inspire Muslims of the world to follow the norms of islam and encourage them to lead a life that conforms to the tenets of Islam as depicted in the quran and hadith.

Hajrat Maulana Elius founded Tabligh in 1927 at Sahranpur of Uttar Pradesh, India and at the same time organised regional congregation or Ijtema. In course of time, Ijtema movement spread throughout the subcontinent and also influenced other regions. After partition of Bengal in 1947, three Ijtema centres developed in three parts of the subcontinent - India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan. Viswa Ijtema at Tongi is the annual Tabligh congregation of East Pakistan. In addition to Tongi, Ijtemas are now held in Rivend, Pakistan and Bhopal, India. However, in terms of popular attendance, the Tongi Ijtema is the largest of all these congregations.

The Tabligh Jama'at movement started in Bangladesh area in 1948 at the Kakrail Mosque of Dhaka with a few followers in presence of Hazrat Maulana Eusuf. Later in 1954, a large congregation of Tabligh Jama'at was organised at the Camp of the hajj pilgrims of Chittagong. Ijtema started attracting people in large numbers. The next Ijtema was held at Narayanganj in 1958. It was held in 1960, 1962 and 1965 at the ramna racecourse, Dhaka. Ramna proved to be too small to accommodate devotees. Consequently, a large open space at the village Pagar on the bank of the Turag near Tongi was chosen for the next Ijtema in 1966. That year many devotees from overseas joined the Ijtema.

For conducting the Ijtema functions in an organised way, the whole Ijtema ground is divided into 21 sections (khittas), each assigned for a region of the country and a foreign geographic zone. A khitta is supervised by a jimmadar (trustee), who is assisted by district and thana jimmadars. The central Ijtema management authority co-ordinates all affairs of the Ijtema. No paid labour is employed in the Ijtema functions and all work is done by teams of volunteers.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bibi Russell: Pride of Bangladesh

She is so vibrant that I could feel Bangladesh in her. For a long time I haven't heard anyone to be so proud of Bangladesh. she truly is the pride of Bangladesh. Bibi Russel's claim to fame did not only come from her tremendous success in the modeling world, but also from a penchant for pithy - and brazen - quotes. More than a model, Bibi is a global icon.



Bibi was the first woman from Bangladesh to study at the London College of Fashion. When she graduated in 1975 she modeled her own graduation show, she was immediately offered modeling assignments with Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani.

Bibi is 5'10'' tall and debuts her modeling career in 1976. From 1986 to 1992, she was dominating as a top model in Vogue, Haper's Bazaar and Cosmopolitan magazines. Bibi was model for almost all popular products, such as Kodak, Channel, BMW, Toyota, Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani etc. and did catwalk on the stage with almost all top models of the world such as Naomi, Claudia etc.

A supermodel for the biggest designers in the 1980's, she then returned to her homeland to make "fashion for development". She now employs 30.000 weavers all over Bangladesh.

‘Everyone thinks Bangladesh is a poor country. For me - it's rich in culture and everything. It gives me a lot of energy _ I live in Bangladesh. Most of the time I'm in villages and I'm competing with top designers.’

She sold her house and possessions to fund her dream. She lived in the villages and the jet-setting supermodel travelled by road, because it was a self-funded project. "People sell poverty. I sold the beauty in poverty," is how she explains her work.

Bibi won critical acclaim at the London Fashion Week the first time she showed her khadi (or khaddor as they say) and handloom collection, got Harrods to stock up her designs, and had an eventful debut in the U.S. too.

Bibi has received both national and international awards for her work with the artisans and weavers in Bangladesh. She has been honoured with an Honorary Fellowship from the London Institute (1999), Women of the Year by Elle Magazine (1997), and Entrepreneur Woman of the Year (1999) by the Foundation of Entrepreneur Women. She has also been highlighted by Asia Week Magazine as one of the ‘20 people to watch in the millennium.’ UNESCO named her ‘Designer for Development in 1999 for her unfailing commitment to human dignity, development and the eradication of poverty. This title was replaced by the title Artist of Peace in 2001.

Her speaking style is energetic, truthful and humorous; her message—profound and thought provoking. Each of the upward steps she takes on that ladder is a success formula designed to be enlightening and entertaining, showing people how to take charge of your life without being self-conscious about it. Bibi’s mission is to encourage people to move beyond limitations and reach for their dreams. She emphasises the importance of recognizing and valuing everyone's contribution as a team member in life's pursuits. A dynamic stage presence, Bibi captures the attention of her audience instantaneously and never lets go. She combines hard facts, specific strategies and personal insights to create a powerful message. Her ability to connect with the heart makes her one of the most influential women in Bangladesh.

That's empowerment. That's development. That's Bibi.

Jackson in Burqa

The picture was shocking ! Michael Jackson wearing burqa in Bahrain !! He was out with his three children when he was seen wearing the veil, abaya and gloves typically worn by conservative Bahraini women.

Jackson has settled in the Persian Gulf since quitting his Neverland ranch in Los Angeles after his acquittal on child molestation charges. His father said has said it is unlikely he will return to the US to live.

The veil, abaya and gloves were of a style typically worn by Bahraini women. Jackson appeared to be wearing them to disguise his identity.

It has been reported he was negotiating a position as a consultant with a Bahrain-based company that plans to set up theme parks and music academies in the Middle East.


Read More....

Thursday, January 19, 2006

461 and Counting...

Just a few days ago Odhikar, a Human Rights organisation, published a report detailing the killings of 461 Bangladehis by the Indian Border Security Force(BSF) over the last 6 years. The report, prepared by Odhikar, said one Bangladeshi was killed in every five days on average. During the period (Jan 2000-Dec 2005), some 51 people, including 8 children, went missing, 519 people were injured, 493 arrested, 540 abducted and five women were raped, while 52 incidents of snatching and looting took place along the borders – all allegedly by the BSF and Indian hoodlums.


Odhikar report on human rights violations in the Indo-Bangladesh border
Bangladesh is bordered on three sides by India and frequent disruptions erupt in the border areas. Incidents of small conflicts and tension are common phenomena in the border areas. Trespass into Bangladesh territory by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) has caused terrible human rights violations in many of the border areas. Bangladeshi people are killed and kidnapping and incidents of mugging and extortion have been alleged to occur. Continuous attack on the Bangladeshi people living near to the boarder of India-Bangladesh is hampering normal life.

As many as 461 Bangladeshis were killed inside the Bangladesh territory by armed Indian hoodlums and members of the Border Security Force (BSF) in the last six years from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2005, according to a report by Odhikar, a human rights organization in Bangladesh. One Bangladeshi was killed every five days in an average. The report, which was prepared on the basis of compilation of reports from national dailies, said Indian criminals and members of the BSF violated human rights in a total of 1838 incidents from 1 January, 2000 to 12 March, 2005.

The incidents - include murder, abduction and mugging - reportedly took place in the north and southwestern border areas, following intrusion of the BSF and Indian criminals into Bangladesh. According to Odhikar report, most of the victims were local peasants, farmers and agricultural workers.

During the same span of time, 51 people including 8 children went missing, 519 people were injured, 493 arrested, 540 abducted and five women were raped, while 52 incidents of snatching and looting occurred – all allegedly by members of the BSF and Indian hoodlums they allowed to enter into Bangladesh territory.

In the year 2005 from 1 January to 31 December 104 people were killed, 66 were injured, 26 were abducted and 14 were missing, 3 women were rapped, and 4 incidents of snatching were happened.

Seventy-six people were killed by BSF and Indian miscreants from 1 January, 2004 to 31 December 2004. During same period, 35 people were injured, 9 were arrested and 73 were abducted while 5 incidents of snatching took place by BSF.
BSF and Indian citizens were responsible for 43 deaths, 82 injuries, 120 abductions, 7 missing, two rapes of Bangladeshis and 8 incidents of snatching in the year 2003.

One hundred and five people were killed by BSF and Indian miscreants from 1 January, to 31 December 2002. During the same period, 54 people were injured, 30 people including 8 children went missing, 366 were arrested and 118 were abducted while 12 incidents of snatching took place by BSF.

BSF killed 94 Bangladeshis in the year 2001. In their hands, 244 people got injured, 60 people were arrested, 45 people were abducted and one person was raped. Ten incidents of snatching took place during the same period.

During the year 2000, 39 Bangladeshis were killed, 38 were injured, 11 were arrested, 106 were abducted and two women were raped by BSF and Indian miscreants. Thirteen incidents of snatching also took place in border areas during the same period.

The gravest situation developed in the border areas during push-in attempts of BSF. Bangla speaking minority Indian citizens were brought in from various provinces of India by BSF in the Indo-Bangladesh border. Branding them as illegal Bangladeshis, BSF tried to push these people inside Bangladesh territory through various parts of the border areas. This has created tense and inhuman situation. Among these groups, majority were female and children whom BSF positioned in front of push-in groups as shield against resistance from Bangladesh border force BDR. Push-in attempts were made at the dead of night, early morning and in cold weather. The fate less Indian people caught stranded in the no-man's land in between weapons of border security forces of two neighboring countries without food and water for long time. In most of the instances, BDR pushed these people back into Indian territory but they were not allowed to move from border areas by Indian BSF. Most of these people belong to low-income group and were forced to live in inhuman condition in border areas. Odhikar thinks that attempt of push-in of Bangla speaking Indian citizens might cause large-scale border conflict anytime between the two neighboring countries.

Odhikar demands proper international investigation and trial of alleged killing, abduction and rape of Bangladeshi citizens by the Indian BSF. Odhikar also demands investigation of push-in attempts by Indian BSF and trial of persons responsible. Odhikar appeals to international human rights community to campaign against misdeeds and push-in of Indian citizens by BSF.

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BSF hands over two bodies to BDR

The dead bodies of two Bangladeshi youths, who were allegedly killed by the Indian Border Security Force on Sunday, were handed over to the Bangladesh Rifles Monday afternoon.

According to BDR and local union parishad chairman, the BSF formally handed over the dead bodies of Kaysar and Haris Ali at about 3.50pm.The handing over took place near Muraichhera BDR camp adjacent to the border demarcation pillar no 1843 under Kulaura upazila in Moulvibazar.

Commander of Arjun Company of BSF and other BSF officials took part in the handing over of the bodies to the commander of Murachhera BDR camp and other BDR officials.The chairman of Pritimpasha Union Council, Nobab Ali Noki Khan, Officer-in-Charge of Kulaura police station, family members of the victims and local people were present during the hand-over.

After flag meeting between the BDR and the BSF it was decided that the dead bodies of Kaysar and Haris would be handed over to Bangladesh on Tuesday morning but the BSF changed the schedule and they brought the dead bodies at 3:50pm.

Kaysar and Haris Ali of Ganakiya village under Pritimpasha union of Kulaura upazila in Moulvibazar were allegedly shot dead on Sunday evening while they were collecting bamboo and cane from the forest near Indian border.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Morals of the young saved again !

It seems once again the authorities in Bangladesh got worried over the 'morals of the young' ! Few days ago it was djuice, an offshoot from Grameen phone, was held under fire for demoralising the young by advertising their mobile deals in a rather casual language - their offence seems to be that they used the popular words or phrases young guys and girls use in Dhaka and in the rest of Bangladesh. Their advertisements were banned for the sake of saving the young of the country. When the young generation (even the small kids) are all dipped in vulgar Indian culture all day and night , it hardly makes sense how few innocent funny ads can destroy the morals of young. Personally I thought those ads were great and censorship can only hinder the creativity that reflects the culture. The ads were not suggesting any new trend but rather showing the 'attitude' that the present generation are very much used to.

The new news is that the government has asked the mobile operators to stop offering free night calls in order to save the 'morals of the young' ( again !!) .

Bangladeshi authorities have ordered mobile phone operators to stop offering free calls after midnight, to protect the morals of young people.

A telecommunications regulator said it had received scores of complaints from parents that children were using the service to form romantic attachments.

They said children were losing sleep and some indulged in "vulgar talk".

In a letter sent to all five of Bangladesh's networks, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission said the "free calls after midnight" offers were being abused by the young.

The phone companies say they are surprised by the order, which the regulator says must be obeyed immediately.

One spokesman has been quoted as saying that if the authorities wish to stop young people meeting each other, by the same logic, fast food restaurants and universities should be shut down, too. [BBC]

If moral policing seeks a morally strong society, then I ask the government to close all the disgustingly vulgar Indian channels first then close fast food restaurants and other public places, check on Internet chatting and web surfing.

Do we need a police society like Saudia Arabia and the West ? I hope the government can feel the pulse of the Bangladeshi young society; if not then the law makers must be too old for the young generation. I hope we all grow young and not old. Bless the morals of the young
!



Monday, January 09, 2006

Eid Mubarak !

Eid Mubarak to everyone ! Once again it's time for sacrifice and joy. This is the first I am having a lamb Qurbani. Feels great. The feeling is not so great as back in bangladesh but it's as good as it gets. We will get the meat the day after Qurbani's first day. All chopped off and ready to be distributed.

Eid-ul Azha ('Id-ul Adha) also known as Eid al-Kurban or Eid al-Nahr is one of the two main Muslim religious festivals. In Bangladesh it is popularly known as Kurbanir Eid or Bakra Eid. Eid and Azha are arabic words meaning festival and sacrifice respectively.

Eid-ul Azha commemorates the sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahim (A), who had been asked by Almighty Allah to sacrifice his dearest son Hazrat Ismail (A) and with the consent of his son Hazrat Ibrahim (A) arranged everything to implement Allah's order at a place called Mina near Mokka in solar year 3800. Allah was satisfied by Hazrat Ibraim's sincere intent and ordered him to sacrifice an animal in place of his son.



Following this event that symbolises highest loyalty and submission to Allah Muslims at Mina and all parts of the world sacrifice animals on the day of Eid-ul Azha as a symbol of sacrifice for Him. Animal sacrifice in the name of Allah is a major feature of Eid-ul Azha. From the sacrifice and through the distribution of sacrificial meat to the poor and distressed, one gets a spiritual satisfaction and pleasure, which obtains a socially festive character.

Eid-ul Azha is observed on the 10th of Jhu-l-Hijjah and on this day, Muslims who perform the Hajj sacrifice animals on the field of Mina. Sacrifice can also be offered on the following day and according to some, on the third day, too (Ainial Tashriq). Animals offered for sacrifice must be of specific age and are required to be free from certain defects. They should not be blind, have broken legs or horns or ears separated either partially or in full. The time of sacrifice begins following the namaz of Eid-ul Azha and continues up to the sunset of the next two/three days. A camel, cow or buffalo can be sacrificed in the names of seven persons, while a lamb or a goat in the name of one person only. Usually cows, goats and buffaloes are sacrificed in Bangladesh. Some people are also seen to import camels for the purpose of sacrifice.

One-third of the meat of the sacrificed animal is kept for the owner, one third is given to his relatives and the rest is distributed among the poor. This gives an opportunity to the rich to discharge a responsibility to the poor and also helps in development of cordiality between the rich and the poor.

Like all other Muslims of the world, Muslims of Bangladesh celebrate Eid-ul Azha in an appropriate manner of religious fervour and enthusiasm. New clothes and accessories are bought on the occasion. People, dressed in new clothes, visit houses of neighbours and relatives to exchange greetings and partake of the special foods prepared on the occasion. Sometimes, people of other religions also take part in the celebrations as invited guests. A few days are declared government holidays on the occasion. Many go to their country homes and celebrate the Eid together with relatives. The Eid congregational prayer is held in large mosques and open fields.

The unique sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahim Khalilullah (A) and Hazrat Ismail Jabiullah (A) and their firm loyalty to Allah's instructions had a tremendous impact on the world literature. This influence is observed on the literature of the Muslim countries such as those of the Middle-East or Spain and Turkey and also on the non-Muslim literature of Europe. This event of sacrifice had also an impact on the Great Poet Homer of the far away Greece, too. The epic Illiad describes that Agamemnon, who was confined in Aulis took the decision to sacrifice her daughter Iphigenia to please goddess Diana and later, Diana replaced Iphigenia by lamb and Diana was pleased to see the lamb sacrificed etc. only prove that Homer was greatly influenced by the event of qurbani on the field of Mina. The Bengali literature is also significantly influenced by Eid-ul Azha and the most prominent evidence is Qurbani, the classic poem of National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

BSF, Indian miscreants kill 461 Bangladeshis in 6 yrs: Odhikar

At least 461 Bangladeshis were killed inside Bangladesh territory by Indian hoodlums and its Border Security Force (BSF) in the last six years, according to a human rights watchdog.

The report, prepared by Odhikar, said one Bangladeshi was killed in every five days on average.

During the period (Jan 2000-Dec 2005), some 51 people, including 8 children, went missing, 519 people were injured, 493 arrested, 540 abducted and five women were raped, while 52 incidents of snatching and looting took place along the borders – all allegedly by the BSF and Indian hoodlums.

The incidents like murder, abduction and mugging reportedly took place mostly in the north and southwestern border areas following intrusion of the BSF and Indian criminals into Bangladesh. Most of the victims were local peasants, farmers and agricultural workers, the report said. [News]

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year !!