Bangladesh film star turns Is­lamic preacher

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

ABangladeshi film star who be­came an Is­lamic preacher said yes­ter­day he wants to use his fame to draw young peo­ple in the Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity na­tion to the faith. Ananta Jalil is the lat­est ac­tor to take up the prac­tice af­ter 22-year-old Naznin Ak­ter Happy, whose de­ci­sion to be­come an ul­tra-con­ser­va­tive Is­lamic preacher was the sub­ject of a best-sell­ing book. Thou­sands of fans turned out late last month to watch 39-year-old Jalil preach in the cap­i­tal Dhaka. Pho­tos of him wear­ing an Is­lamic tur­ban and long robe went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia.

He told AFP he had joined the Tab­lighi Ja­maat-a Sunni Mus­lim evan­gel­i­cal move­ment that boasts mil­lions of ad­her­ents in Banglade­shafter a pil­grim­age to Mecca ear­lier this year. "The main rea­son Al­lah gave us life... sent us to the earth is to wor­ship Him. I learnt it there," he said by phone yes­ter­day. "If I can preach Is­lam to the young gen­er­a­tion, they'll abide by Al­lah and the tra­di­tions of the prophet and they'll say prayers five times a day." Un­like Happy, Jalil said he would keep mak­ing movies although his next one would be used to "prop­a­gate Is­lam".

Jalil made his for­tune as a tex­tiles en­tre­pre­neur and used the money to bankroll films in which he played a star­ring role. He has made six movies, start­ing with "Khoj" ("The Search") in 2010, in which he played a se­cret ser­vice agent who takes on an in­ter­na­tional arms syn­di­cate. The mod­er­ate ver­sion of Is­lam prac­ticed in Bangladesh for gen­er­a­tions has been slowly re­placed by a more ortho­dox ver­sion of the faith in re­cent years. The burka most as­so­ci­ated with the rigid Is­lam of Afghanistan and the Gulf is be­com­ing more com­mon­place, new mosques and madras­sas are flour­ish­ing and hard­lin­ers have won sym­bolic vic­to­ries in their push to over­haul Bangladesh's sec­u­lar con­sti­tu­tion. — AFP

Ananta Jalil

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