Muslims pray for peace in Islamic congregation in Bangladesh

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Muslim devotees pray as they attend the World Muslim Congregation, also known as “Biswa Ijtema,” during noon prayers at Tongi, on the outskirts of Dhaka. (AP)
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The Biswa Ijtema, or the World Congregation of Muslims, is considered as one of the largest gatherings of the Muslim devotees. (AP)
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The congregation is believed to have begun in 1949 as a gathering of Sunni Muslim preachers. (AP)
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Updated 12 January 2020

Muslims pray for peace in Islamic congregation in Bangladesh

  • The Biswa Ijtema, or World Congregation of Muslims, is one of the largest gatherings of Muslim devotees
  • It is held on the sandy banks of the River Turag at Tongi, just north of Dhaka

TONGI, Bangladesh: Hundreds of thousands of Muslims raised their hands and prayed for the welfare of the world as they joined a final prayer Sunday in wrapping up a three-day Islamic congregation near Bangladesh’s capital.
The Biswa Ijtema, or World Congregation of Muslims, is one of the largest gatherings of Muslim devotees, held on the sandy banks of the River Turag at Tongi, just north of Dhaka.
The congregation, which is believed to have begun in 1949 as a gathering of Sunni Muslim preachers, draws hundreds of thousands from Bangladesh and abroad. The gathering is apolitical, and the sermons deal with an interpretation of Islam that advocates peace, harmony and brotherhood.
“Oh my Allah, please save Muslims, please pour your blessings, please end all bloodshed through your blessings,” cried an imam who led the final prayer. Many of the devotees burst into tears seeking blessings.
Security was tight, with agencies setting up watchtowers, control rooms and CCTVs. The second phase of the gathering begins on Friday.


Albania’s coronavirus cases surge for third day in row

Updated 57 min 31 sec ago

Albania’s coronavirus cases surge for third day in row

  • The country reported a total of 361 cases, 20 deaths and 104 recoveries
  • Albania was hit by an earthquake last November that killed 51 people and left 17,000 homeless

TIRANA: Albania reported 28 new cases of the new coronavirus on Sunday and said a failure to respect social distancing had led to the highest numbers of infections over the last three days.
The COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus has killed 20, infected 361 and caused three to need help breathing, the Public Health Institute said. It added that 104 had recovered.
Despite a lockdown monitored by police and the army and hefty fines, some Albanians have slipped through to buy food. Two were caught having coffee and brandy outside. Mourners who attended a funeral in a northern town also spread the contagion.
Since the first two cases on March 9, infections rose and fell until they reached 28, the most in a day, on March 26. They fell up to half over the next week, only to rise to 27 on Friday, 29 on Saturday, the highest ever, and 28 on Sunday.
One of the poorest countries in Europe, Albania was already hit hard by an earthquake last November that killed 51 people and left 17,000 homeless. The government is enforcing a tough lockdown to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.
Before enforcing its third 40-hour lockdown on the weekend, the government reminded Albanians they should not be fooled by comparing their country’s figures with those of worst-hit countries because the worst had yet to pass.
“This increase in the number of cases in Shkoder and Tirana once again shows the failure to apply social distancing and measures to control the infection that the Health Ministry keeps recommending daily,” said Albana Fico of the Health Institute.
“It is equally important to respect infection prevention measures even with our cousins by avoiding visits for whatever reason,” she added.