A section of Islamic clerics, mostly Hefajat-e-Islam leaders, have issued a "fatwa" (religious edict), saying that construction of idol or sculpture of any living being is forbidden in Islam.
They said this at a press conference held at the Dhaka Reporters Unity on Thursday, organised under the banner of "Top Ulama Mashayekhs of the country" in a bid to "issue fatwa by the country's top-level muftis and alems to resolve confusion among people regarding sculptures and idols".
Most of those on stage were various rank and file members of Hefajat, including nayeb-e-amirs Abdur Rob Yusufi, Abdul Hamid, Nurul Islam, and Mahfuzul Haque; adviser Maulana Abdul Kalam; and joint secretary general Jonayed Al Habib.
While reading out a written statement, Mufti Enamul Haque said the government should take the responsibility of demolishing the idols and sculptures in the country.
They said 95 muftis and maulanas of the country have undersigned the fatwa placed at the press conference.
Speakers at the briefing also said as the government has recently taken steps to build the sculpture (of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman), debate is going on in favour of and against the construction, while confusion is being created about sculptures and idols.
"The sad thing is that anyone is now commenting on the provisions of Islamic law regarding idols and sculptures, whether those are permissible or impermissible, halal or haram. Giving such statements without being fully aware of the provisions of Islamic Shariah is a sign of irresponsibility and a matter of concern," they said.
While reading out the fatwa, Enamul Haque said there was no difference between the sculpture and the idol of a man or an animal, and any such construction has been prohibited by Shariah law. Even if it is not for the purpose of worship, it is undoubtedly illegitimate and clearly haram and a severe sin, he added.