Newly-appointed State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan has moved to draw a distinction between ‘idols’ and ‘sculptures’ amid protests by Islamists over the contruction of a statue of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“I’m new in this ministry and therefore, I will ponder on the issue and make a plan to move forward,” he said about the Hifazat-e Islam’s opposition to the sculpture during a press meet on Sunday.
Soliciting support from the media in this regard, Faridul added, “An idol and a sculpture are not the same. You go to Pakistan, India or any part of the world and you’ll find sculptures.”
He also pointed to the images of Bangabandhu and other leaders found in currency notes and coins and said if these were construed as ‘idols’ then people would not be used or carried by people.
The opposition to sculptures evolved from a misunderstanding, Faridul said, adding that even Egypt and Saudi Arabia have sculptures.
“Many Islamic countries have sculptures. Those in Bangladesh who are against sculptures must realise that a sculpture is not an idol.”
The state minister is hopeful of finding a resolution once everyone understands the distinction.
The government will discuss the matter and come up with its next steps, he said when asked about his message to those who object to the erection of sculptures in the country.
“You have already listened to Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader. Therefore, please have some patience while we reach a resolution,” he said.
Idols that belong to any religious community will be safeguarded by the authorities and all religious communities will practice their respective religions, according to Faridul. “No issues were raised regarding this as of now,” the state minister said.