Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday inaugurated the Hajj Programme-2022 (1443 Hijri) urging every Muslim to uphold the dignity of Islam, the religion of peace.
“Islam is a very peaceful and holy religion, which is the best religion. So, it is the duty for all of us to maintain its dignity,” she said.
The premier opened the programme at the Hajj camp in the capital’s Ashkona through a virtual platform from her official residence Ganobhaban, UNB reports.
She also called upon the hajj pilgrims to pray for Bangladesh so that the country and its people can remain protected from the natural disasters and pandemics like Covid-19 as well as get decent lives.
“Bangladesh is making economic progress today. So, pray so that we can move ahead in the development journey and every person of the country can get scope for their foods, clothes, shelter, medicare and education, and thus get an improved and decent life,” she said.
Hasina also asked the pilgrims to abide by the rules and laws of Saudi Arabia while performing their hajj rituals there. “It is the duty for all of us to uphold the country’s dignity. Keep it in mind,” she added.
The first hajj flight, carrying 419 pilgrims, from Bangladesh is scheduled to depart for Saudi Arabia on Sunday next. As the Coronavirus situation is a little better, this year the Holy Hajj is going to be held (on July 08 depending on the moon sight) with one million pilgrims from all over the world. Of them, 57,585 hajj pilgrims are from Bangladesh.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, 1,27,198 pilgrims from Bangladesh performed hajj in 2019.
The PM said her government enacted the Hajj and Umrah Management Act-2021 for ensuring smooth hajj performance by Bangladeshi devotees. “We’ve taken proper measures so that the hajj pilgrims can travel and perform the hajj without facing any harassment,” she said.
The measures were taken on her experiences as she found many irregularities in hajj management (for Bangladeshi pilgrims) since she first performed the Umrah in 1984, and the hajj in 1985 at the invitation of the king of Saudi Arabia.
“So, we’d efforts to improve the hajj management after coming to power in 1996 and we’ve been able to improve the management in phases,” said Hasina.
Noting that her government made the country as Digital Bangladesh, she said, “Today e-Hajj management was introduced and so, the pilgrims don’t face the sufferings as they did in the past. We’ve been able to remove the sufferings.”
“It is our duty to ensure that the pilgrims can perform their hajj and offer their prayers smoothly,” said the premier.
She thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud for giving the scope for the hajj pilgrims to travel to Saudi Arabia as they couldn’t get the scope for last two years due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
The prime minister asked the hajj pilgrims to offer prayers so that the world and mankind remain protected from the Covid-19 pandemic.
She exchanged pleasantries with the pilgrims and requested them to offer prayers for the people of Bangladesh and her family members who were brutally killed in 1975.
State Minister for Religious Affairs Md. Faridul Haque Khan presided over the inaugural function.
State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism M Mahbub Ali, Saudi Ambassador to Bangladesh Essa Yussef Essa Al Dulaihan, Religious Affairs Secretary Kazi Enamul Hassan and president of Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) Shahadat Hossain Taslim also spoke on the occasion.