The first phase of Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of Muslims in the world, begins today (January 13) on the bank of the river Turag in Tongi, on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka.
The Ijtema began with 'Aam Bayan' (general sermons) by noted scholars after Fazr prayers on the day that will end with Akheri Munajat (final prayers) on January 15.
The venue filled with thousands of people, including more than 1,500 foreigners from 26 countries.
President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today issued separate messages on the occasion of the Bishwa Ijtema.
In his message, President Abdul Hamid welcomed the pilgrims from different countries of the world, including Bangladesh, who are coming to join the Ijtema.
The second phase of the Ijtema, however, will begin on January 20 at the same venue.