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January 24, 2011
Mass prayer at Bangladesh Islamic peace gathering
TONGI, Bangladesh (AP) -- Tens of thousands of Muslims seeking peace and the revival of Islam's tenets joined a mass prayer Sunday to wrap up an annual three-day Islamic congregation outside the Bangladeshi capital. It was not clear how many devotees joined the final prayer, but the organizers had earlier said the congregation was expected to attract more than 4 million people on the sandy bank of the River Turag. Local police chief S.M. Mahfuzul Haque Nuruzzman said the gathering was peaceful like previous years as thousands walked to the site overnight and in the morning to join the final prayer of the World Congregation of Muslims, or Biswa Ijtema. The gathering, held each year since 1966, is among the world's largest religious gatherings. It shuns politics. (24 images)

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Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims board overcrowded trains as they try to return home after attending the three-day Islamic Congregation on the banks of the river Turag in Tongi, outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011. AP / Pavel Rahman


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Muslim devotees try to board on a train after attending the Biswa Ijtema or World Muslim Congregation at Tongi, about 30 kms north of Dhaka on January 23, 2011. At least 2.5 million Muslims joined prayers on January 23, 2011 near the Bangladeshi capital as part of the second largest annual Islamic festival after the Hajj to Mecca, officials said. AFP/ Getty Images / Munir Uz Zaman



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Muslim pilgrims leave the 'Biswa Ijtema' or World Muslim Congregation on an overcrowded train at Tongi, about 30 kms north of Dhaka on January 23, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Munir Uz Zaman



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A vendor, center, foreground, and a man jump from the top of one overcrowded train to another as thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims try to return home after attending the three-day Islamic Congregation on the banks of the River Turag in Tongi, outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011. AP / Pavel Rahman



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Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims board overcrowded trains as they try to return home after attending the three-day Islamic Congregation on the banks of the River Turag in Tongi, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011. AP / Pavel Rahman



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Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims board overcrowded trains as they try to return home after attending the three-day Islamic Congregation on the banks of the river Turag in Tongi, outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011. AP / Pavel Rahman



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Muslim pilgrims leave the 'Biswa Ijtema' or World Muslim Congregation on an over-crowded train at Tongi, about 30 kms north of Dhaka on January 23, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Munir Uz Zaman



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Muslim devotees arrive to attend the Biswa Ijtema or World Muslim Congregation at Tongi, about 30 kms north of Dhaka on January 23, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Munir Uz Zaman



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Muslim devotees attend the Biswa Ijtema or World Muslim Congregation at Tongi, about 30 kms north of Dhaka on January 23, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Munir Uz Zaman



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Muslim devotees arrive on an overcrowded to attend the Biswa Ijtema or World Muslim Congregation at Tongi, about 30 kms north of Dhaka on January 23, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Munir Uz Zaman



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A Bangladeshi Muslim prays as thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims on overcrowded trains try to return home after attending the three-day Islamic Congregation on the banks of the River Turag in Tongi, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011. AP / Pavel Rahman



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Overcrowded boats arrive to join the site of the 'Biswa Ijtema' or World Muslim Congregation at Tongi near Dhaka on January 23, 2011. At least 2.5 million Muslims attended prayers near the Bangladeshi capital as the first phase of the second largest annual Islamic festival after the hajj ended on January 23, officials said. AFP/ Getty Images / Munir Uz Zaman



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Muslim devotees bow towards Mecca as they pray during the Friday noon prayers, while they attend the World Muslim Congregation, also known as "Biswa Ijtema", at Tongi, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on January 21, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Munir Uz Zaman



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Muslim women gather for the World Islamic Congregation on the banks of the river Turag in Tongi, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011. The three-day congregation began Friday. AP / Pavel Rahman



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Muslim women walk to offer prayers during the World Islamic Congregation on the banks of the river Turag in Tongi, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011. The three-day congregation began Friday. AP / Pavel Rahman



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A Bangladeshi Muslim youth participates in 'Akheri Munajat' - last prayers -at the conclusion of the 'Biswa Ijtema' or World Muslim Congregation at Tongi, about 30 kms north of Dhaka on January 23, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Munir Uz Zaman



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Muslim devotees participate in the Friday noon prayers, as they attend the World Muslim Congregation, also known as "Biswa Ijtema", at Tongi, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on January 21, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Munir Uz Zaman



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Muslim devotees offer prayers during the World Islamic Congregation on the banks of the river Turag in Tongi, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Jan. 21, 2011. The three-day congregation began Friday. AP / Pavel Rahman



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Muslim devotees bow towards Mecca as they pray during the Friday noon prayers, while they attend the World Muslim Congregation, also known as "Biswa Ijtema", at Tongi, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on January 21, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Munir Uz Zaman



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Muslim devotees arrive at the World Muslim Congregation also known as "Biswa Ijtema", at Tongi, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on January 21, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Munir Uz Zaman



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Muslim devotees bow towards Mecca as they pray during the Friday noon prayers, while they attend the World Muslim Congregation, also known as "Biswa Ijtema", at Tongi, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on January 21, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Munir Uz Zaman



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Bangladeshi security guards watch from the top of a building as thousands of Muslim devotees arrive to attend the World Islamic Congregation on the bank of the river Turag in Tongi, outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. AP / Pavel Rahman



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Muslims walk near temporary tents set up for the World Islamic Congregation on the banks of the river Turag in Tongi, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011. AP / Pavel Rahman



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Boats are seen anchored near temporary tents set up for the World Islamic Congregation on the banks of the river Turag in Tongi, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011. AP / Pavel Rahman



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