Police said they will keep an eye on waz mahfils to identify those delivering indecent speeches in the name of sermons.
Monirul Islam, chief of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, came up with the remarks yesterday.
“We have noticed that recently some speakers in waz mahfils are giving political and indecent speeches about mothers and sisters rather than discussing the five pillars of Islam.”
He was speaking as a keynote speaker at a seminar titled “The Role of Islamic Scholars in Preventing Violent Extremism” at the Islamic Foundation building in the capital’s Agargaon.
Earlier on Monday, a Supreme Court lawyer served a legal notice to the authorities concerned, asking for directives on barring Islamic clerics and speakers from delivering speeches containing anti-state or fictional rhetorics at waz mahfils and ensuring that the speeches are not made without textual references to the Holy Quran and Hadith.
Supreme Court Lawyer Md Mahmudul Hasan served the notice and said he will file a writ petition with the High Court seeking a directive in this regard if measures are not taken within 30 days.
Secretaries to the ministries of religious affairs, home, education, and the director general of the Islamic Foundation have been made respondents to the legal notice.
According to it, “In many cases, alems (scholars) are delivering speeches containing fictional statements, gossip and anti-state rhetorics at waz mahfils. These misleading speeches are disseminated among people through various social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.
“It is also seen that, in many cases, our scholars are delivering aggressive speeches against the government and various state institutions using their own opinions and without mentioning the reference of the Holy Quran and Hadith at religious programmes and waz mahfils. Through their speeches, they are creating discord among people.”
In yesterday’s programme, CTTC chief Monirul further said that anyone who has a clear knowledge of Islam will never be involved in militancy. Those with a vague knowledge of Islam are involved in militancy.
“Islamic scholars can make people aware against militancy and drugs by making statements at different times. The role of scholars is to give the correct interpretation of Islam to the people and to make people aware as they listen to scholars attentively,” he said.
He further pointed out the existing division among scholars themselves regarding militancy.
He advised everyone, including the alem community, to be aware so that incidents like the Holy Artisan massacre do not happen again.
The CTTC chief said since militancy is a matter of ideology, the chances of rehabilitating those who knowingly turn to militancy for political gain are limited.
“Efforts will be made to rehabilitate those who are misunderstood and misinterpreted without understanding,” he said, adding that steps have been taken for counselling in the prisons.
The CTTC chief said there is no presence of the Al-Qaeda in Bangladesh — not even a branch. But many are trying to prove the existence of Al-Qaeda in Bangladesh by spreading various propaganda in this regard at different times.
Monirul said that militancy has been effectively controlled. At present, there is no risk of any major militant attack in Bangladesh.
However, everyone must remain careful so that no one carries out destructive activities, he advised.
State Minister for Religion Affairs Faridul Haque Khan, Secretary of the Ministry of Religion Md Nurul Islam and Director General of the Islamic Foundation Anis Mahmud also spoke among others.
Addressing the seminar, Faridul called upon scholars to inform the people about the evils of militancy in their Friday prayer sermons and regularly before daily prayers in mosques.
The minister said he believes this will increase awareness among the people, adding, “Islam never supports militancy.”
“People should always be informed about the evils of militancy in their statements before prayers in the mosque. If awareness activities are conducted here repeatedly, a sense of awareness will be awakened among many people,” he said.