Bangladeshi van driver Abdul Salam Md Ramjan Ali's long-cherished dream has become a reality following his inclusion in a programme for the guests of the custodian of the two holy mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to perform Umrah.

"I wanted to see in my eyes both holy Makkah and Madinah. I have long been trying to see my request is accepted," Salam told UNB at his place of residence here.

He wrote letters to Saudi authorities and also reached out to Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Bangladesh Essa bin Yousef Al Duhailan so that his desire is fulfilled.

"I express my gratitude to Almighty Allah and the Saudi King for giving me such an opportunity to see Madinah and Makkah," said 54-year-old man.

He thanked the Saudi ambassador for his support in making his dream a reality.

Abdul Salam, who has been running van in his village in Jhenaidah district over the last 35 years, arrived in Madinah on March 6 as part of 34-member delegation to perform Umrah.

He will offer Jummah prayers on Friday (today) at the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah with other delegation members.

Islamic scholars, journalists, students and influencers like the Founder and CEO of 10 Minute School, Ayman Sadiq, and author, speaker, English teacher Munzereen Shahid are among the delegation members.

Abdul Salam, who also worked as muezzin in a mosque of a government college for a couple of years, has another dream.

He wants to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

"I want to give some gifts to Imam of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. I want to help them in whatever way I can," he said, adding that he does not want to go there to take up arms in hand but to help people.

Salam said he has written a request letter to the President of Bangladesh to help him fulfil his dream.

He said the Israeli aggression must stop and the Muslims should remain united.

After visiting Quba Mosque, King Fahad Complex for printing the holy Quran, Shuhada and Mount Uhud, international exhibition and museum of the Prophet's Biography and Islamic Civilisation, the Bangladesh delegation will leave Madinah for Makkah on Monday to perform Umrah.

Earlier, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman approved hosting 1,000 Umrah pilgrims from countries around the world during the year 2024.

This is within the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' Guests Program for Hajj, Umrah and Visit, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Sheikh thanked the King, and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman for this generous gesture.

He said this confirms the great care of the rulers in serving Islam and Muslims, as well as in strengthening the bonds of brotherhood between Muslims in various parts of the world, and fruitful communication with those who are engaged in various fields of Islamic work.

The "Guests Program" would host 1,000 prominent Islamic figures from all around the world, including Islamic scholars, intellectuals, influential figures, and university professors to perform Umrah and pray in the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah.

The Saudi minister appreciated the continuous great support being received by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in various fields that contribute to the success of its mission to serve Islam and Muslims, as well as to spread the values and principles of the Islamic religion, and confront hatred, fanaticism and extremism.

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