Despite the absence of major attacks or violent incidents, the threat of extremism is real and persists, he said
Extremism still exists and is a real problem for Bangladesh, Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) Chief Monirul Islam has said.
"After the Holey Artisan attacks, extremist activities have been at a decline due to a clampdown on militant activities," he said. "As there were no major attacks or incidents of violence, everyone thought extremism and terrorism have been rooted out.
"However, the threat is still very real, and persists," Monirul said.
Monirul said: "Youths who are mentally weak cannot accept the realities of life, and thus become intolerant of other people's views. Then they start to follow wrong ideologies and join these extremist groups."
He said, although it is impossible to curb extremism completely, police can still reduce its impact by spreading awareness.
“We can solve the problem in effective ways by spreading awareness in specific ways," he said.
Under the Dhaka Peace Talk program, the organizers will hold 12 roundtables with the targeted audiences. The discussion topics will be selected based on the specific target groups, but primarily it will discuss the state of violent extremism in Bangladesh, the CTTC chief said.
He added that the roundtables will initially be held in Dhaka, and later in other districts outside Dhaka, if necessary.
Dhaka University’s Assistant Professor Shabnam Azim also spoke at the press briefing, where she said the roundtables will help build networks to prevent extremism.
What will Dhaka Peace Talk do?
Dhaka Peace Talk will provide opportunities for state actors to get to know the society's stand on violent extremism issues, which strategies are more applicable to prevent these issues, what kind of support local communities need, and more such topics.
The Centre for Social Advocacy and Research Foundation (CSARF) and CTTC will jointly conduct the workshops with the help of "Obirodh: Road to Tolerance", a project by United States Agency for International Development.
Dhaka Peace Talk intends to create interaction and engagement between key stakeholders. The proposed activities intend to engage nine strategic groups under Obirodh, along with policy makers, social influencers, and people from the local communities.
The workshops will also be held to spread awareness and prevent people from becoming radicalized or engaging in violent extremism.
They will work as a platform where the participants can talk freely, and express their views, as extremism still remains a topic that is frequently avoided and not often discussed.
The free and open discussion is crucial in getting to the bottom of the matter, and for getting an accurate idea about the state of violent extremism in the country.
Later on, the discussions will be regarding opinions and recommendations.
The workshops will be facilitated by a pool of experts on the subject matter, including CTTC officials. Each roundtable will have a specific topic.
Based on its importance, a topic can be revisited through multiple sessions.
All these will be organized in to find out the adequate tools necessary to combat violent extremism, and create a sustainable and peaceful society.