The authorities in Bangladesh have put 321 foreign members of the Tabligh Jamaat into two mosques in Dhaka as India has quarantined thousands after hundreds linked to a gathering of the organisation were diagnosed with COVID-19.
Out of the 321 of its foreign members identified in Bangladesh, 191 have been kept at Kakrail Jam-e-Masjid, the Tabligh’s Markaz or headquarters in the country.
They are followers of Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, leader of the organisation based in Delhi.
The remainders, 130 followers of Saad’s rival Maulana Zubair, have been gathered at Kolapotti Madina Jam-e-Masjid in Jatrabari, said Md Mazharul Islam, the chief of the local police station.
“They have been gathered from different parts of the country. They are all doing well,” he said.
Ramna Police Station OC Monirul Islam said no one was being allowed to enter or leave the Kakrail mosque.
He said 30 to 40 people have also been kept in the mosque to look after the foreigners. As many as 40 students of a madrasa are also there.
Tabligh is an organisation based on South Asian Deobandi branch of Sunni Islam. Its members travel to and stay at mosques to preach Islam.
Biswa Ijtema, the second largest annual congregation of Sunni Muslims after hajj, is organised by the Tabligh in Tongi on the outskirts of Dhaka every year. It was held in January this year.
India has detected coronavirus among 650 of those who attended the Tabligh gathering in Delhi. It has placed around 2,000 of the attendees and 7,000 close contacts into quarantine.
Malaysia had earlier reported spread of the virus from a similar Tabligh gathering while Indonesia had halted the organisation’s event.
Mufti Mizanur Rahman Sayeed, director general of Shaykh Zakaria (Radi-Allahu anhu) Islamic Research Centre, said Tabligh members do not need to preach Islam by going door to door during a pandemic.
Anis Mahmud, the director general of Islamic Foundation, said the government body does not control Tabligh.
He, however, noted that Islamic scholars have advised against gathering during the pandemic.