Muslim devotees clash at National Mosque in Bangladesh
Several hundred Muslim devotees clashed inside Bangladesh's National Mosque during their weekly congregation Friday over the appointment of a new Khatib, who delivers sermons, leaving a few disciples injured, police and witnesses said. Police said a group of people aligned to certain religion-based political groups raised a hue and cry inside the mosque while the newly appointed Khatib, Mohammad Salahuddin, started giving his sermon ahead of the weekly Jumma prayer in the capital Dhaka.
They threw shoes at the Khatib of the national Baitul Mukarram Mosque, prompting other groups to throw shoes back at them, reported dpa.
They also scuffled and kicked for a few minutes inside the mosque floor, creating panic among several thousands devotees before plainclothes lawmen, deployed inside the country's main mosque earlier, intervened.
After the dissidents were chased out by the police, they gathered at the north gate of the mosque and offered prayers led by Mufti Abdullah, who in his sermon asked the devotees to refrain from saying prayers behind the newly appointed Khatib Salahuddin.
Appointed only three weeks ago by the immediate-past interim government of Fakhruddin Ahmed, the new Khatib Salahuddin earlier urged the devotees not to use the mosque as a political platform.
The dissidents, who last Friday prevented Salahuddin from giving a sermon, continued their protests, parading the street with shoes in hand and demanding Salahuddin's removal.
Sensing further trouble, the government posted huge contingents of security forces in and around the National Mosque to avert untoward incidents.