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Youth feeling brunt of terror stigma

  • Published at 02:42 am July 17th, 2016
  • Last updated at 02:52 pm July 17th, 2016
Youth feeling brunt of terror stigma
As details from the July 1 attack on Holey Artisan bakery continue to emerge, and policy-makers adjust their strategies accordingly, reactions across the board have ranged from horrified to angry to fearful. With the identities of the perpetrators now known to all, the nation’s attention has, perhaps somewhat belatedly, turned to the subject of the youth, and predictably, with censure rather than productive solutions. My mother met up with a few of her friends the other day. She was telling them that I have recently started praying and that she was happy about it. Her friends knew I go to Scholastica and proceeded to tell her to look after me and make sure I am friends with the “right” people. They seem to be sure that there is a “wrong” crowd in my school that I should stay away from,” says Waseka, a 12th grader. Pointed asides are some of the more polite reactions the young ones are getting. I graduated from Scholastica a few years ago. My sister is currently studying there in grade 7. My relatives have been pressuring my mother about my sister. My uncle told her to be glad that I hadn’t been brainwashed while I was studying there and that my mother should change my sister’s school just to be on the safe side. How ridiculous is this?” bemoans Farhan, 22. While Scholasticans bemoan their new-found notoriety, students of other English medium schools are speaking up in solidarity and understanding. If you judge a whole institute by the actions of a few students then you might as well regard all Muslims as terrorists. The whole story still remains hidden, completely unknown,” says Mahidun Nabi, a Sunnydale student. The increased security precautions taken at universities don’t go down well with everyone either. Even a policeman told me that he  couldn’t help but check people like us - students - particularly since the terrorists are of our age, while searching my bag. And thanks to the media, my parents are worried sick. My mom has been asking about my whereabouts and about the people I mix with,” adds Baizid, 23. Not all students are reacting negatively to the stereotyping or the security measures, however. There’s been everything from shock, outrage to finally unity from the students of NSU. Many are angry about the generalisations, the stereotyping, but personally, I feel there is no reason to be this angry. Let’s face it: NSU has had the largest number of militants at 11, with Chittagong University and BUET coming in at second place with six militants according to a news report. These are facts. No matter how strongly we believe in the institutions’ capabilities, the truth of the matter is that there is a problem and that problem needs to be addressed. Any surveillance, scrutiny from the UGC and external bodies will only help strengthen the universities’ fight against terrorism. Prevention is better than cure and frankly, for those that believe there is no problem, let’s just look at these surveillance measures as a method to ensure that we can prevent militants from growing in our midst,” opines Amreen, an NSU student.