A senior leader of Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League party said he strongly opposes Hajj and the Tablighi Jamaat movement.
Abdul Latif Siddiqui, one of the top leaders of Awami League criticised Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam. Siddiqui, who also holds the portfolio of the Ministry of Posts, and Telecommunications, criticised Tablighi Jamaat.
He made the remarks while exchanging views with expatriates of Tangail at the Jackson Heights Hotel in New York last Sunday afternoon.
Regarding the holy pilgrimage of Hajj, the minister said: “I strongly oppose the Hajj and Tablighi Jamaat. I also oppose Jamaat-e-Islam. But, I particularly oppose Hajj and Tablighi Jamaat.”
He added: “Hajj is a waste of manpower. Some 20 lakh people have gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj. They don’t have any work in the country. They’re also not involved in any kind of production. They are only for reduction. They only eat and waste the country’s money abroad.
“If one lakh pilgrims go to Saudi Arabia on an average and each of them spends Tk 5 lakh, then they spend a total of Tk 500 crore.”
Explaining the reasons behind the obligation of Hajj, Siddiqui said: “Abdullah’s son Muhammad thought how people of Arabia would survive. They were robbers. Then he introduced a system stating that his followers will assemble once a year. Through this system, a scope of income will be generated.”
Regarding the Deobandi movement of Tablighi Jamaat, the minister said: “Tablighi Jamaat gathers 20 lakh people each year. They themselves have no work. They stop plying of all modes of vehicles across the country.”
It has been reported that Siddiqui spoke rudely to foreign journalists who questioned him about his views on Hajj and Tablighi Jamaat.