The fight against terrorism isn’t just a fight against a bunch of misguided extremists; it is a fight to defend the values that we hold dear
RAM Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury Member of Parlament
It is not a recent phenomenon. Rather extremism is an age-old issue as we know three of the caliphs after death of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) were assassinated. Terror was used as a mean to grab power in Islamic history. Besides, the leftists also used it to impose their ideas. Many suggest that Islam itself has the terror elements, although my personal opinion is the opposite-Islam has no room for terrorism. Our prophet is the only preacher who had the excellent tolerance for the people of other religions. He preached Islam, but didn't impose by using any force.
It is not possible to establish any Islamic State as the state mechanism has to impose a leaner ideology. Islam has several sects and diversified cultural practices. To combat terrorism, we need to continue our fight not only usuing state forces but also ideologically. People with sympathy for the terrorists could be both inside and outside of the ruling party. They think it is possible to establish Taliban kind of state. Political and state mechanism should be amplified to detect those people. They should be toughly dealt with. Moreover, personally I want to remind them the rally of April 5 of Hefazat-e-Islam. I know, they are still active and if we have to experience another April 5, the damage would be more.
Prof Md Ali Ashraf Member of Parlament
Anarchy is a primitive phenomenon. The people who are engaged with it in the name of Islam, I want to remind them that there is no room in Islam for terror activities. It is one kind of disease and the terror activities are not random incidents. The law enforcers are combating against it. However, I think the most important thing is to unite people against militancy and root it out from society. It is tough to maintain watch on each and every person in society. But if the people step in and collectively form a kind of social resistance against militancy, the job will be easy on that count.
Holy scriptures do not allow to kill anybody. But the militants manipulate the verses and partially use those to misguide the youth. But we now have the urgency to have a proper and holistic view and understanding of the religion. I want to thank the organizers for the arrangement on the very important contemporary topic hoping such events would shape mass awareness against militancy. Besides, I urge all to uproot militancy and I think the issue cannot be addressed and tackled only by the state. I hope Bangladesh would lead other countries very soon on the way to peace.
BM Muzammel HaqueMember of Parlament
Pakistan misused Islam during the 1947. In the name of religion, they wanted to foil the spirit of Bengali during the Liberation War. However, the country achieved its independence as a secular state under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. After assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975, the then rulers Ziaur Rahman and HM Ershad reintroduced the religion based politics.
The people who patronized the Bangabandhu killers introduced militancy in Bangladesh. They established the Bangabandhu killers rather bringing them to book and surprisingly dismissed the trial of the war criminals.The identified group now has also been hatching plots while the country is on tremendous progress. The militancy issue is their plot to destabilize the country.
Shama Obaid Organizing Secretary, BNP
Thanks a lot to The Asian Age to organize the event. Although the speakers previously termed the militancy issue primitive, the idea, especially in Bangladesh context, could contract if political leaders from other parties were here. Bangladesh is a moderate country and I do not find any possibilities to become an extreme one. There is an excellent co-existence of people of different religions and they all celebrate the religious occasions in a joyful manner.
However, the rise of militancy in Bangladesh is not only a social issue, rather it's an economic and political issue. We have to find out the root cause of the problem. We see youths connected in militant activities from both affluent and poorer families. The madrasah education system can be reformed. But what can we do to the youth from rich families? Why are they getting involved in such heinous crimes? We all have responsibility to find out the answer.
You have to reduce oppresson, suppression and let people talk. We have to listen to different voices of people. The solution cannot be crossfire and bullying the countrymen that we are tackling them hard. Unless vibrant democracy in the country, it is not possible to uproot militancy successfully. Establish democracy, practice democracy and I hope intensity of militancy then will come down.
Wali-ur RahmanFormer Ambassador
The current government is practicing democracy and the economic status of the country is going up. This is not my opinion; rather the World Bank and other international organizations have recognized the growth. The rise of militancy started through the killing of Bangabandhu in 1975 and afterwards, Ziaur Rahman, Ershad, Khaleda Zia for the rise of militancy.
The government has adopted zero tolerance policy against militancy. During the visit John Kerry also hailed our stance against militancy. The agreement was to exchange intelligence with Bangladesh in combating terror activities. They also assured us all kinds of support for war on terror. I suspect Pakistan is behind the recent terror attacks in the country. Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant outfit, who carried out attack in Mumbai could be involved in Gulshan attack. In our country, banned militant outfit like Hizb-ut-Tahrir, seeking so-called Khaliphet, are also responsible for plotting heinous attacks in recent times. The main thing is that we are better prepared not to let happen another Holey Artisan attack.
Professor Dr Ataur Rahman President, Bangladesh Political Science Association
I thank The Asian Age for such a step against terrorism. I also appreciate the role of the government for de-radicalizing the risk factors of the militancy. We have to understand that political crisis and militancy were not similar. Militancy is a bigger threat than anything. The concept of Jihad is not very clear to the young generation of Bangladesh. So easily they are being misused. Prevention is better than cure. The country's image is tarnished in recent attacks. Such attacks put obstacles in the way of our progress.
Prof Dr Nazmul Ahsan KalimullahEditor-in-Charge of The Asian Age
Historically we saw peaceful co-existence of different religious groups in one hand, again the shift of history sketches the conflict among them on the other. The issue of militancy and its historical contextual definition can be different through ages during the pre-colonial, colonial and post colonial period. However, we see that the recent IS had gradually adapted more and more destructive meanings to fulfil their agenda. The radical groups and individuals who have joined or follow the extremist ideology have also found perpetrating cruelty throughout the globe.
Their fellow men who allegedly carried out the Holey Artisan eatery attack portrayed their brutality which characterized them evidentially. It is rarely an option to get long term solution by defeating them by only physical power. Rather we need to adopt superior morality and logical stance to make them aware of what they are doing.
Abdus SelimProfessor, North South University
In last many years, I never thought that NSU could be a breeding ground of terrorism. I don't purchase the theory that only private universities can be blamed for militant attacks. I have found my students preaching Islam in social networking sites. However, it is very unfortunate that they were very reluctant about current affairs and political issues of the country. They use religion to explain the science while derailing the students.
We previously found guardians apologizing for the wrongdoings of their offsprings. We don't want to see this anymore. Alienation and frustration is more often in higher class society. There are mainly two types of Jihad. One is internal and another is external. The external Jihad is easier than the internal one. The IS misinterprets Islam. Being a good person is more important than being a pious one, this what I think.
Hasanul Haq Inu
Honorable Minister, Ministry of Information
We have talked about the counter-terrorism and other issues. Surprisingly none directly indicated the political parties patronizing terrorists. If we dig down to each and every militant's bio, we will find connections to BNP. It is possible to uproot militancy. However, if we don't understand who rear communal culture, patronize arson attacks, deny the liberation of Bangladesh, then the problem will remain.
There is no scope to be neutral on the militancy issue. I urge all to identify and abandon the political parties that patronize militants. BNP was involved in labeling the militants innocent who were totally isolated from the society. The private universities or Madrasas can't be blamed as the breeding ground of militancy. Rather most of the militants belong to Jamaat-Shibir.
Religion can't be blamed solely because the terrorists have no religion. Militants with the help of a vested quarter are trying to spread an atmosphere of fear. A peaceful country can't be imagined with the political parties who believe in violence. If we consider fighting terrorism as a war, then we should strongly stand against terrorism. There is no chance to be neutral regarding the issue. BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia is trying to label the terrorists as innocent when the friends and families of the militants are not claiming them to be innocent. They are self-declared killers. We all should defeat terrorists and the political parties who support them. The terrorists who were killed in recent gunfights are self-declared killers.
Syed Badrul AhsanAssociate Editor of the Daily Observer
Previously in 1996, Pakistan hailed the Taliban success in Afghanistan. Now the Pak government is in a fix as they cannot protest the drone attack on their own soil against the Taliban. In 2004, the grenade attack on Awami League meeting, we witnessed the then government destroying all the evidences. I asked one of the ministers of that government why they appointed a Jamaat leader as a minister of Social Welfare Ministry. He replied that the ministry was insignificant. Now we are suffering the troubles of our society which was spread out throughout the negligence.
We are now blaming the private universities for breading terror activities. But we see the students of those universities were brainwashed abroad. It is positive that our police are showing efficiency in tracking the militants. But it would be better to arrest them alive rather shootout incidents. Currently terror activities are being carried out throughout the world. We must bring the culprits to book. The ‘crossfire’ incidents, however, dismiss the further scope to quiz them. The law enforcers should prioritize to hold the terrorist alive.
Prof Dr Nim Chandra Bhowmick
Former Ambassador and leader of minority Unity Council
Religion has played a vital role to the path of civilization. But the recent terror attackers misused religion. After experiencing the recent attacks we have observed that the law and order situation has been tightened. I appreciate the role of the government in combating recent terrorism. I urge everyone to take a strong stand against militancy. The people who believe in democracy should come forward against this social curse. The role of the developed Western countries should be appreciated. We all should curb terrorism together.
Nazrul Islam Asian Age Vice-Chairman
The rule of law should be established and the motivational works also need to be done. Our present government, I think, has identified the problem and its solution. Prime Minister Skeikh Hasina directed to create more job opportunities to prevent the rise of militancy. If we can create job opportunities, the risks would be minimized.