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Home minister: People’s awareness halting funds for violent extremism

  • Published at 09:14 pm February 17th, 2020
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal speaks as the chief guest at the “Law and Politics Review Panel Discussion” at the Muzaffar Ahmed Chowdhury auditorium of Dhaka University on Monday, February 17, 2020 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

The discussion, organized by the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) International Affairs office, was conducted by its secretary Shahrima Tanjin Arni

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said Bangladesh has been successful in cutting off funding for violent extremism as the people of Bangladesh are now more aware of the purpose behind such funds.

He was speaking as the chief guest at the “Law and Politics Review Panel Discussion” at the Muzaffar Ahmed Chowdhury auditorium of Dhaka University on Monday.

The discussion, organized by the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) International Affairs office, was conducted by its secretary Shahrima Tanjin Arni.

“We have brought all banks and economic institutions under our scanner. As a result, we were able to identify suspicious transactions and blocked many such funds for extremism,” the home minister said.

“Earlier, people used to donate money unknowingly in the name of religious activities, but we have overcome the situation,” he added.

“There is no foreign terrorist organisation in Bangladesh. All terrorists in our country are homegrown. They try to spoil the advancement of our country in different ways under different banners,” the minister mentioned.

Additional Commissioner of Police and Chief of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Md Monirul Islam said: “There are major differences in terror activities among South Asian countries. 

“Most of the terror attacks in Bangladesh were conducted through using small funds collected from inside the country. Only during the incident in Trishal upazila in Mymensingh, a terrorist group spent around Tk1.2 crore to snatch away three of their associates from a police van.”

“Meanwhile, India and Pakistan continue to blame one another for funding extremist groups and some of these allegations were found to be true. However, terror groups such as the JMB, Ansar Ullah Bangla Team, among others, have been running their operations through self-sponsorship, mainly by using funds gathered from members and other criminal activities inside the country.”

He also urged everyone to be careful while donating to charities as many extremist groups tend to collect funds in the guise of charity.

He mentioned that Bangladesh’s ranking (31st) is far better than that of the United Kingdom and United States of America in terms of risks of radical extremism on the Global Terrorism Index of November 2019. 

A study conducted by DU postgraduate student Nahian Reza Sabriet, titled: “Violent Extremist Funding and State Responses in South Asia: A Comparative Case Study of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan”, was discussed at the event.

The study examined the sources of funding for six terror groups in three countries; two from Bangladesh (Ansar al-Islam and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh), two from India (Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba), and two from Pakistan (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and Harkat-ul-Jihad al Islami).

“The study examined government responses to violent extremist funding in the three countries both before and after major terrorist incidents such as the Holey Artisan Bakery Attack in 2016 (Bangladesh), Mumbai attacks in 2008 (India), and Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in 2007 (Pakistan),” Nahian told the discussion.

“The study was conducted by drawing evidence from archival documents and interviews of key informants.” 

“The study concludes by stressing the need for bolstering national efforts to combat the funding of violent extremism with regional and international partnerships as well,” he added. 

DU International Relations Department Chairman Prof Md Ruhul Amin, Prof Dr Delwar Hossain, Deputy General Manager of Financial Intelligence Unit of Bangladesh Bank Kamal Hossain, and Ducsu Assistant General Secretary Md Saddam Hussain, among others, were present at the event.