Gazipur: The first phase of Biswa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of the Muslims after Hajj, began on Friday amid 20-party alliance's countrywide blockade on the bank of the Turag River at Tongi on the outskirts of the capital.
The congregation, also called the World Muslims' Congregation, started formally with religious sermons after Fajr prayers.
The initial sermon was given by Pakistan's Maolana Md Ehsan.
A large number of Muslim devotees from home and abroad reached the congregation venue amid blockade.
The first phase of the three-day Biswa Ijtema, being organised by Tablig Jamaat since 1946, will conclude on January 11 with the Akheri Munajat (concluding prayers) while the second phase is slated for January 16-18.
Preparations have almost been completed for smoothly holding the Ijteam.
Several lakh people from home and various other countries are expected to join the congregation.
Bangladesh Army has set up seven bridges with pontoons connecting the two banks of the Turag for the movement of the devotees.
Special security measures have been taken to ensure security of the Muslim devotees.
Ijtema is being held in two phases from 2012 to ease accommodation problem.