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Second largest Muslim gathering in Bangladesh

December 02, 2004 16:50 IST

Up to four million pilgrims from over 60 countries, including India, are expected to assemble in Bangladesh's industrial town of Tongi for the World Muslim Congregation, the second largest annual Islamic meet after the Haj in Mecca, beginning on Friday.

The 'Biswa Ijtema' (world congregation) will bring more than 100,000 clerics from Bangladesh, India and
elsewhere to the banks of the Turag River, the organisers said. As part of the festivities, some clerics have begun delivering sermons on peace and amity.

The official congregation will end with a mass prayer on Sunday, in which Bangladesh President Iajuddin Ahmed and Prime Minister Khaleda Zia will participate.

The World Muslim Congregation has its roots in India and Tongi hosted the first meet in 1966.

Thousands of security personnel, including men from elite police units, and close circuit video cameras will ensure a level of security that is unprecedented for the three-day meet, one of the official organisers Tablig Jamaat told PTI. 

Incidentally, Bangladesh is already on a security alert for the upcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit.

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