Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday opened 50 new mosques across the country to celebrate 50 years of independence. (File/AFP)
- PM hopes they will restore “tarnished” image of Islam
- Hasina opened the 50 mosques virtually from her official residence, Ganabhaban in Dhaka
SHEHAB SUMON June 10, 2021
DHAKA: Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday opened 50 new mosques across the country to celebrate 50 years of independence.
They are part of a major $1 billion construction program that started in 2017, with 560 “model” mosques featuring community and educational facilities being built to serve as local religious and learning centers.
Hasina opened the 50 mosques virtually from her official residence, Ganabhaban in Dhaka, and expressed hope they would help restore the good image of Islam and root out extremism.
“We’ve seen how some people turn to terrorism in the name of religion. Killing people and spreading hate have tarnished the image of Islam,” Hasina said. “Everyone, including politicians, civil societies and teachers, need to work together to root out terrorism. People need to understand that no one will go to heaven by killing others.”
Another 50 mosques will be opened in the coming months to reach the 100 mark in remembrance of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country’s first president and Hasina’s father, as Bangladesh is also observing his birthday centenary this year.
Rahman spearheaded a freedom struggle in Bangladesh to separate the country from Pakistan. The war began in March 1971 and, after a bloody nine-month campaign, culminated in the nation’s independence.
Shafique Talukder, the mosque building project’s deputy director, told Arab News that the mosque complexes would all have facilities for Islamic research, pre-primary school education, libraries, housing and accommodation for local and foreign tourists. They would also run enrolment and training programs for Hajj pilgrims, he added, and serve men and women.
Three types of mosques are being constructed under the project.
There will be mosques with a floor space of 2,400 square meters in 64 regions. In 475 other areas they will have a floor space of 1,700 square meters. In 16 coastal regions the floor space will be 2,000 square meters, designed specifically to meet terrain requirements.
The aim of the project is for all districts, subdistricts, and city corporation areas to have one model mosque equipped with a grand prayer hall for 900 to 1,200 people.
“This is the largest mosque building project being implemented by any country in the world,” Talukder said.
There are more than 300,000 mosques in Bangladesh.