The United States Embassy, Bangladesh Police Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit (CTTCU) and the United Nations jointly inaugurated the two-day event
Great achievements and success stories can be wiped out in a moment of violent extremist action or terrorism.
With political polarisation reaching historic highs and home grown extremist groups forging links with transnational movements, an effective resistance movement, built through a growth of social awareness, should be put in place to prevent extremism in the country.
Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad, was speaking at the inauguration of the National Conference on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism at the International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB) in Dhaka on Monday.
The United States Embassy, Bangladesh Police Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit (CTTCU) and the United Nations jointly inaugurated the two-day event.
The speaker said that Bangladesh wouldnot be allowed to be used as a territory for terrorism.
Therefore, in order to prevent terrorism, law enforcers as well as guardians, teachers, and responsible citizens of societymust rise and resist the purveyors of extremism.
The speaker stated that no one was born an extremist, but it was the situation that turned such people vicious. “We first have to identify what causes extremism and terrorism and why they become terrorists,” said the speaker.
“Extremism can also arise from prolonged unresolved conflicts. Hence, dialogue, negotiation, and mitigation methods have to be used to resolve conflicts. Another key issue we have to address is poverty. We have to create job opportunities for the jobless,” she emphasized.
She said terror financing must be stopped in the first place to defeat extremism and people from all walks of life had to be engaged strengthening anti-terrorism activities. "Violent extremism is a global problem," the speaker said, adding that a single country alone could not prevent it.
At the event, noted speakers and senior officials, echoing the need for a broad approach in countering extremism across the globe, urged researchers, development partners, politicians, law enforcement agencies, and civil society to collaborate against the drivers of violent extremism.
In his remarks, Dr Gowher Rizvi, International Affairs Advisor to the Prime Minister, said eliminating extremism might not be possible for the Bangladesh government without the assistance of the international community.
He said: "Three years ago, there was a surge in extremism in this country. However the situation was tackled through the combined efforts of everyone."
The government should reinforce the capability of law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, and build political consensus on tackling the menace, he advised.
US Ambassador in Bangladesh Earl R Miller said the United States had provided over $35 million in counterterrorism assistance to Bangladesh since 2016.
He said his country was committed to supporting Bangladesh in its efforts to tackle money laundering, terrorism financing and strengthening the rule of law.
“Together, only together, can we ensure a peaceful future for everyone, for all our children, in a world we share and must protect together,” he added.
The conference, drawing representatives from the Bangladesh government, civil society and academia, is supported by the US Embassy through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre of the UN Office of Counter Terrorism, and the UN Development Program.
At the conference, participants will showcase their ideas and efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and prepare a draft, ‘National CVE Strategy’, to be submitted to the government of Bangladesh.