31 May 2016
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    » 01/13/2016, 00.00

    BANGLADESH

    Christian clergyman arrested as a "threat" to the Bishwa Ijtema Islamic pilgrimage



    Police took into custody Rev Gilbart Biswas in Tongi, where one of the largest Muslim gatherings is held each year, for his “suspicious behaviour,” namely preaching the Gospel and selling booklets. Two million pilgrims from 150 countries attended this year’s event.

    Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Bangladeshi police detained Rev Gilbart Biswas for preaching the Gospel and selling religious booklets during Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest Islamic pilgrimage in the world after the Hajj, which is held every year in Tongi (near Dhaka), on the banks of the Turag River.

    The clergyman was taken into custody last Saturday. Deployed to provide security to the event, police justified his arrest on "security grounds" because of his “suspicious behaviour”. One officer said that "no one can proclaim the Gospel on other religious sites."

    In reality, the Constitution of Bangladesh guarantees every citizen the right to profess, practice and propagate their faith.

    "We are very concerned about the arrest of Rev Gilbart Biswas,” said a fellow clergyman, anonymous for security reasons. “He did not commit any crime and was arrested illegally by the police, which has not yet released him."

    Now the “judge wants to read the booklet Rev Gilbart Biswas distributed,” he added. “After reading it, he will give his verdict."

    The Bishwa Ijtema (Global congregation or World Meeting in Bangla) is an annual event organised by the Tabligi Jamaat (Society for the spread of the faith), a transnational religious and non-political movement that seeks the spiritual reform of Islam.

    The event, which includes moments of prayer and preaching, draws millions of people from all over the world. This year some two million people from 150 nations took part in the event. The government deployed more than 5,000 police agents to ensure security.

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    See also

    21/11/2011 INDIA
    Kashmir pastor arrested for baptising seven Muslims
    The region’s grand mufti accused Rev Chander Mani Khanna, of All Saints Church, after a video appeared on YouTube. Police beat the seven young converts to get them to accuse the pastor of forced conversions. In early November, the grand mufti summoned Rev Khanna to appear before a Sharia Court.

    05/06/2009 BANGLADESH
    Dhaka: Catholic chef arrested for possession of alcohol
    In reality the manager of the prestigious restaurant in the capital wanted to fire the cook to give his job to a relative. Human rights activists ask for justice and promise legal assistance.

    09/03/2010 IRAN
    Isfahan: Protestant clergyman tortured for “converting Muslims”
    During a visit in prison, the pastor’s wife saw he had signs of torture. He could be executed. An anti-Protestant crackdown is underway in Isfahan. The regime’s fight against proselytising is coupled with fears that Christian gatherings might host its opponents.

    18/01/2016 12:37:00 BANGLADESH
    Bishwa Ijtema: two million Muslims call for peace and Islamic unity

    Indian Mullah Moulana Muhammad Sa'ad led the closing prayer. Participants called for God’s forgiveness and prayed for themselves and their families. The gathering attracted Muslims from 150 countries. A Catholic praised the event’s organization. "We Christians should learn from our Muslim brothers and sisters.” They “don’t have any complain against organizers. They manage their own food and accommodation personally.”



    27/01/2014 BANGLADESH
    Two million Muslims gather in Bangladesh for the Bishwa Ijtema
    The event is the second largest annual Muslim gathering in the world after Hajj. Organised by the Jamaat Tabligi movement, this year's meeting was divided into two phases to avoid safety problems. At least 50,000 participants came from China, United States, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Kingdom.



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