Countering Extremism Through Public Participation


Terrorism is a global problem, not a Muslim one. Contrary to popular perceptions, the problem of terrorism is far greater than a Muslim one and touches every nation. Today, countries across the world are being terrorized and ravaged by extremism; both territory and minds conquered by a militant and ideological crusade. Terrorism and terrorist activities are a global problem and a threat to all nations directly or indirectly irrespective of religion, race, culture or go-location. The Government of Bangladesh (GOB), over the years, has demonstrated strong will and made relentless efforts in preventing the terrorist groups from operating in Bangladesh.

Despite of having government’s strong position against terrorism, some extremist religious groups have shown their presence in Bangladesh. In this circumstance, a dedicated specialized unit under Bangladesh Police is inevitable to counter all sorts of terrorism. “Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime” unit under Dhaka Metropolitan Police has started intelligence-led proactive investigation into terrorism and transnational crime, arrest criminals, collect criminal intelligence and keep the terror suspects under surveillance and finally stop such activities with the help of people. Subsequently, government and different non-government organizations in Bangladesh are working together for preventing this alarming issue.

As a chapter of this promising approach to prevent terrorism from our country Community Development for Peace (CDP) has organized a day-long program in Water Garden Convention Hall closed to Jamia Qurania Arabia Lalbagh (JQLM) Madrasah, Dhaka on 11th March, 2020 funded by Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime.  A series of lectures were delivered with diversified topics.  The program was introduced with the holy Quran recitation. Two surreal Islamic songs were sung by two of the students from the respective institution. The whole program was divided into seminar and workshop. More than 250 students were present at the seminar and the workshop was conducted with 100 participants.

Session 1: Seminar

The seminar was designed with a series of lectures by different academic backgrounds. The interactive seminar was followed by lunch. The motivational and encouraging lectures where the fuel of the seminar.

Muhammad Ferdaus, Founder and CEO of Community Development for Peace (CDP) welcomed the seminar with his fabulous and inspiring story to establish peace in the community to be united and reinforced to work for the better community. He mentioned the contribution of the government and organization approaches to cope up with the ultimate scenario of the concerning issues of terrorism. Furthermore, he tried to let them know about the young students to be role model to break the stigma and peel off the social myth. This young generation is more capable to fight for any unwanted cases in our country, he added.

Zahidul Hoque Talukder, Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Bangladesh Police, Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) delivered the keynote speech. In his lecture, he tried to mention the risk of extremism in our society. Besides, he mentioned the root causes of the origin of terrorism and the impacts in our society. People who are at the age level of (15-30) years old are quite vulnerable for being targets of terrorist as well as militants.

The study says that lack of good parenting is the vital reason for terrorism. In our society the unemployment issue is also the key factor for promoting terrorism. The terrorist has no color, no religion they are the diseases of our society. In the cyber domain terrorist leveraged web-based tools to replace a once centralized command and control structure. The Internet enables rapid, almost instantaneous, communication. This allows for easy sharing of information such as intelligence, planning, and the transfer of funds. It essentially creates a virtual environment to conduct business in real time without the need to physically gather.

 Terrorists use the cyber support to promote their activities. For instance, the internet enables rapid, almost instantaneous, communication. This allows for easy sharing of information such as intelligence, planning, and the transfer of funds. It essentially creates a virtual environment to conduct business in real time without the need to physically gather. That’s the very crucial time for this media to expand and rear terrorism. He mentioned the responsibility of the family to get rid of their children from being terrorists. The only religious study would not enable to change them. Students should be involved with co-curricular activities. He also mentioned that generally people have the right to complain and also reach Superintendent of Police from 12pm-2.00pm of any working day. Police are the friendliest of general people and without the co-operation of all classes of people it would be tough to prevent terrorism.

Maulana Mohammad Jashim Uddin, Professor Jamia Qurania Arabia Lalbag (JQLM) Madrasha, Dhaka, explained very nicely about the religious quote and their applications in our society. In his lecture, peoples’ myth on the very sensitive issue of “Zihad” and “Terrorism” were nicely described. He added about government initiatives and the full of support to stop terrorism from our country. He brought out a few common reasons of the narrative gap of the community and madrasha students about a specific issue. The traditional cross fire issue should be banned. He recommended about the up gradation of madrasah education systems and also mentioned to include moral education mandatory for Bengali and English medium education system.

Advocate Md. Saimum Reza Talukder, Senior Lecturer and Assistant Proctor, Department of law, Brac University, delivered his speech with the historical background of the different terrorists and their physical attitudes and tendency to grab the young people. He mentioned the ICT Punishment Act, under this act, any cyber offenses whose are interrelated both the terrorism and also the anti human activities would be punished. He addressed social media as Digital Cocaine. His cyber crime explanation part was so brilliant that specified all reasons very clearly.

Mawlana Zobair Ahmed, Professor, Jamia Qurania Arabia Lalbag (JQLM) Madrasha, Dhaka, he started his lecture with a reference of an Australian Study on Country’s Terrorism issue, “Religious Scholars contribute more to prevent terrorism”. Educational Curriculum can include 200 marks on Religious Study in every level of the education system. Healthy entertainment facilities and an exact religious explanation should be ensured. He recommended, establishment a “Religious Consultant Firm”.

Dr. Saber Ahmed Chowdhury, Associate Professor, Department of Peace and Conflict, Dhaka University, he started his lecture with a very bold speech “ students are not involved in terrorism because who are involved in terrorism he/she should not be considered as student”. Public participation can be a strong weapon to fight against terrorism. Specific courses should be included to establish peace in our community. The most important place for spreading proper religious education is a Mosque, Temple, and Church from the respective religious perspective.