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Islamic congregation starts in Bangladesh

Dvotees joined Friday mass prayers at Tongi amid sermons by clerics calling for peace and understanding in the Islamic world.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2006 18:58 IST

Thousands of Muslims from across the world gathered at the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital on Friday as the world's second largest Islamic congregation after the Hajj got underway with an unprecedented 25,000 security personnel on guard.

The devotees joinedFriday mass prayers at Tongi on the outskirts of Dhaka amid sermons by clerics calling for peace and understanding in the Islamic world.

Organised by the World Tablig Jamaat the three-day congregation, Biswa Ijtema, will end with "Akheri Munajat" or mass prayers on Sunday.

Security has been strengthened to thwart any subversive activity during the congregation.

Nearly 25,000 uniformed and undercover security personnel comprising the police, Rapid Action Battalion, Armed Police Battalion, Bangladesh Rifles and Ansars will create a security bulwark to maintain discipline in and around the Ijtema venue, a Home Ministry official said.

The devotees from different parts of the nation, and countries, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Thailand, Qatar and Australia, have already reached the Ijtema ground.

Security forces checked the devotees and vehicles at 18 entry points of the Ijtema venue.

Fifty-eight close circuit television cameras and 20 video cameras have been set up in and around the venue.

A special immigration desk has been set up in Zia International Airport to facilitate entry of foreign devotees.

First Published: Jan 27, 2006 18:58 IST