The U.S. State Department reported receiving information of several possible threats to the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka and other U.S. interests in Bangladesh, and encourages Americans to be especially vigilant in areas frequented by foreigners. Further, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service released a report saying that Bangladesh may be becoming a haven for Islamic terrorists in South Asia, citing several attacks on cultural groups and the government’s failure to crack down on the perpetrators, who may have links to al Qaeda. Bangladeshi officials protested the report, saying there are no terrorist networks in the country.

Biswa Ijtema, the three-day annual World Congregation of Muslims that is the second-largest Muslim gathering in the world after the Hajj, will be held Dec. 27-29 on the banks of the Turag River 20 miles north of Dhaka at Tongi, Gazipur. Organizers expect about four million devotees from home and abroad to take part. Last year, more than three million Muslims from 52 countries gathered here peacefully despite rumors that international terrorist groups planned to disrupt the event.