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Latif to be dropped from cabinet, AL posts: PM

Shirshobindu Desk: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said Abdul Latif Siddique will be removed from the cabinet and all the posts of Awami Lague for his comments on hajj, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Tablighi Jamaat.

“He will be dropped from the cabinet and party posts as hurting the religious sentiment of people by anybody is not acceptable,” AL Central Organising Secretary Mesbah Uddin Ahmed Siraj quoted the prime minister as saying.

The premier was talking to Awami League leaders at Sylhet Osmani International Airport on her way to Dhaka after returning from London attending the 69th UN General Assembly in the USA.

While talking to reporters, Mesbah Uddin said Sheikh Hasina mentioned that she have performed hajj for herself and for her father, mother and many other relatives also.

“I have performed Omrah hajj several times. The derogatory comments about the hajj that hurt the religious sentiment of Muslims will never be tolerated,” the AL leader quoted the prime minister.

Latif’s remarks in New York on Sunday triggered widespread criticisms at home and abroad, and embarrassed the government.

Soon after the video of the discussion at Jackson Heights released, the prime minister, being annoyed at his comments, decided to sack Latif from the cabinet.

WHAT THE MINISTER SAID

At the programme organised by the Tangail Samity at a New York hotel, Latif said he was against hajj and Tabligh Jamaat more than he was against the Jamaat-e-Islami.

“Hajj is a waste of manpower. Those who perform hajj do not have any productivity. They deduct from the economy, spend a lot of money abroad.

“If 1,00,000 people perform hajj every year on an average and spend Tk 5 lakh each, then the total cost stands at Tk 500 crore,” he said.

Speaking about the history of hajj, he said Prophet Muhammad was worried about the people of Arab as they were robbers. The prophet then made an arrangement that his followers meet at a place every year, which will generate income.

Criticising Tabligh Jamaat, he said, “Tabligh Jamaat brings together about 20 lakh people every year. It has no specific duties. It just clogs traffic across the country.”

Latif also castigated Hasina’s son Sajeeb Wazed Joy, saying, “Why do you often mention of Joy? Who is Joy Bhai? Joy is nobody in the government. He cannot make any decision.”

On talk shows, the minister said, “Those who attend talk shows are basically ‘talk man’. They jabber in front of cameras as they have nothing to do.”

He went on to use unprintable offensive words about the talk show speakers and behaved indecently with the journalists present at the discussion.

He snubbed a journalist and said, “Should I talk as you wish? I am telling what I think right. Why have you come here? Who has invited you here?”

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