The first phase of the world’s second largest Muslim congregation after Haj began on the outskirts of Dhaka Friday. Thousands of devotees from Bangladesh and abroad are thronging the bank of river Turag at Tongi near Dhaka to participate in the congregation called Bishwa Ijtema. Noted scholars give religious sermon to the devotees on this occasion. The Ijtema began with the ‘aam bayan’ and will end on January 12 with the final prayers ‘Akheri Munajat’.
Police has made extensive security arrangement for the congregation. Large number of police personnel have been deployed near the venue which has been brought under CCTV surveillance.
The second phase of Bishwa Ijtem will take place between January 17-19.
Bishwa Ijtema has been taking place on the Turag riverbank in Tongi near Dhaka since 1967. In 2011, the congregation was split into two phases to ensure better management.
Bishwa Ijtema draws in Muslim devotees from about 150 countries. In 2010, 5 million people were estimated to take part in the Bishwa Ijtema. It is a gathering that focuses on prayer and meditation and is not open for political discussions.