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The Independent Online

Passengers ride on the roof of a train in Dhaka in Bangladesh, after attending the final prayers of the Islamic Biswa Ijtema ("World Congregation") meeting yesterday. The annual congregation is the second largest gathering of Muslims in the world after the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, and was attended by around 2.5 million people this year including the President and Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

The event was founded more than 40 years ago by Tablig Jamaat, a global Muslim revivalist movement, and is intended to encourage pious behaviour and closer adherence to Islamic principles. Political discussion is explicitly forbidden at the Biswa Ijtema, and the emphasis is on religious contemplation and worship.

Attendees concluded this year's meeting, which was held on the banks of the river Turag, by offering prayers seeking forgiveness and blessings for all mankind. Bangladesh is the world's third-largest Muslim-majority nation, with Muslims making up nearly 90 per cent of its nearly 150 million population.