NEW YORK: Abdul Latif Siddiqui, one of the top leaders of ruling Awami League, has strongly criticised the holy Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Siddiqui, who also holds the portfolio of the Ministry of Posts, and Telecommunications, also criticised Tablig Jamaat.
He also made objectionable remarks about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's son Sajib Wazed Joy in particular and journalists in general.
The minister made the remarks while exchanging views with expatriates of Tangail living in New York at a hotel at Jackson Heights in New York on Sunday afternoon.
Regarding the holy Hajj, the minister said, "I strongly oppose the Hajj and Tablig Jamaat. I also oppose Jamaat-e-Islam. But, I particularly oppose Hajj and Tablig Jamaat."
He said: "Hajj is a waste of manpower. Some 20 lakh people have gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj. They don't have any work in the country. They're also not involved in any kind of production. They are only for reduction. They only eat and waste the country's money abroad."
The minister said, "If one lakh pilgrims go to Saudi Arabia on an average and each of them spends Tk 5 lakh, then they spend a total of Tk 500 crore."
Explaining the reasons behind the introduction of Hajj, Latif Siddiqui said "Abullah's son Muhammad thought how people of Jajiratul Arab would survive. They were robbers. Then he introduced a system stating that his followers will assemble once in a year. Through this system, a scope of income will be generated," he said.
Criticising Tablig Jamaat, Latif Siddiqui said, "Tablig Jamaat gathers 20 lakh people each year. They themselves have no work. They stop plying of all modes of vehicles across the country."
In his speech, he also criticised those who often stresses the importance of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's son Sajib Wazed Joy.
Addressing the expatriate Bangladeshis, he asked, "Why do you mention about Joy again and again? Who is Joy Bhai? Joy is nobody of the Bangladesh government. He is nobody for taking decision of the government."
The minister also strongly criticised about the talk shows on televisions and hurled abusive languages against those who take part in talk shows. "Those who take part in talk shows, they are talk men. They utter whatever they like before cameras as they don't have anything to do."
Abdul Latif Siddiqui also misbehaved with journalists while responding their queries.
It may be mentioned that Posts and Telecommunications Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui is now visiting New York as part of the Prime Minister's entourage to the UN General Assembly.