A section of Islamic party leaders at a press conference yesterday firmly criticised Hefajat-e-Islam Chief Shah Ahmad Shafi for his controversial remarks on some Islamic rituals and ideologies.
They asked Shafi to sit in an open debate with them to discuss the issues within two months, and urged the government to cooperate in this regard. Otherwise, they threatened to go for a tough movement.
Bangladesh Tariqat Federation (BTF) and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat Bangladesh, two Islamic parties, jointly organised the press conference at Dhaka Reporters' Unity in the capital.
In a written statement, the parties alleged that Shafi used derogatory terms to describe food [tabarruk] of Eid-e-Miladunnabi, forbade people from taking part in Urs (a kind of religious congreggation) asked people not to worship any peer or mazar, and compared women to tamarind.
Speaking as chief guest at the event, BTF Chairman Syed Nazibul Bashar Maizvandary said Shafi is "misguiding" people by providing wrong explanation of Islam.
But the government forged an alliance with them, Hefajat-e-Islam, who consider the national anthem forbidden [haram], and don't even use the national flag, he said.
"The government may do politics of vote, but we will keep protesting these activities and remarks," said Nazibul.
"We are giving two months to engage in a dialogue to solve these issues. Otherwise, we will announce a tough movement," he added.
The chairman of BTF, an ally of the Awami League-led government, also said the situation is worsening gradually and moving towards violence, but they want a peaceful solution.
"If we don't get a solution from the government, we will have to think of an alternative," he added.
BTF Co-Chairman Abu Sufian Khan Abedi also criticised Shafi, calling him "impertinent."
BTF Secretary General Syed Rezaul Haque, Executive Secretary General Masud Hossain Al Quadri, and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat Executive Chairman Abdul Karim Siraj Nagari also spoke at the programme, among others.