• Sunday, September 21, 2014

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The missing component in defeating terrorism

THE new phenomenon evolving in the West of elements who are joining extremist groups, and their raison d'etre, must be taken and dealt with seriously. In his recent speech to the Australian Institute of International Affairs titled “Evolution of terrorism – and what it means for Australia”, Mr David Irvine, the Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), said ASIO's Act of 1979 definition of terrorism is “…acts or threats of violence or unlawful harm that are intended or...


The regrouping of extremists

RECENT arrests of a large number of extremist cadres and the snatching away of three high profile extremists from police custody a few months back are taken to be clear indicators of the activity and agility of the so-called religiously motivated extremist elements. Media reports confirm that extremists are not only regrouping but have also embarked upon fresh recruitment. Quite clearly, these are disturbing news as the extremist elements in question pose a direct threat to our democratic pluralist...


Extremism worry

NINE years have passed since the country witnessed the most serious terrorist action. Although there were not many casualties in the nearly 500 near simultaneous explosions, and that was perhaps not the intention of the perpetrators, it was the first exposure of the existence of well organised extremist group with technical know-how. And after several years of being in a denial mood the government of the day was still dithering to acknowledge that Bangladesh was indeed facing a phenomenon...

Fears over rise of extremism in Muslim nations

Fears over rise of extremism in Muslim nations

A strong majority of people in Bangladesh are concerned about Islamic extremism, while they have negative opinions of extremist groups like al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Pakistani Taliban, according to a Pew Research Centre survey. Such fear is on the rise in nations with large Muslim populations in the Middle East and South Asia,...

Music against Extremism

Music against Extremism

With the theme “Music against extremism,” a three-day (March 30-April 1) Music Festival 2014 concluded at the open premises of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). BSA, together with Bangladesh Sangeet Sangathan Samannay Parishad, arranged the festival -- where a number of music troupes, schools and solo artistes from across the country performed solo and...


Extremism and the distortions

Extremism and the distortions

WHETHER Pakistan is the epicenter of terrorism as claimed by a quarter may be debatable. However, the corrosive impact of terrorist ideology and actions on Pakistani society is undeniable. It is only last week that Pakistan's interior minister presented a plan to bring all of its madrasas (religious schools) under its national education...


Faces of extremism in South Asia

BARELY a fortnight ago, a fringe group of Hindu fanatics forced the clamping of a ban on Wendy Doniger's extremely insightful work, The Hindus, in India. Not long ago, the now deceased leader of the Shiv Sena, Bal Thackeray, openly suggested that Muslims in India be thrown into the sea. In the early 1990s, Muslim fanatics in Bangladesh forced the outspoken writer Taslima Nasrin out of the country for what they called her blasphemous views on Islam. Since she was...


Zawahiri's “call” should not be taken lightly

LIKE everything else, the al-Qaeda chief Zawahiri's so-called call for “intifada” in Bangladesh is now a subject of political controversy. The ruling party would like us to believe that it is a sure sign of the close links between BNP-Jamaat alliance and the global terror organisation, and the opposition would have us believe that the whole thing is made up  to further harass the opposition. The tragedy is that people will believe on the basis of their political tilt and...


Militancy and counter-narrative

A daily English newspaper took a dim view of the fact that the anti-militancy campaign has run aground and expressed concern as to why the imams of mosques reportedly refuse to give anti-militancy sermons to counter the extremist version. Extremism stemming from religious ideology is understandably the target of the national counter terrorism strategy that is being worked out. There is a presumption that we are yet to prepare an effective counter-narrative for combating religious extremism with a view...


Combating terrorism

WE take a dim view of the fact that the anti-militancy campaign, particularly the awareness drive, has run aground, primarily because of lack of commitment on the part of the government. The matter was highlighted in front page news in this paper yesterday. No form of extremism can be combated only through force, much less extremism stemming from religious ideology. And while the country is still in the process of crafting a national counterterrorism strategy there is an accord of...

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