In a taped message, purported to be that of the al-Qaeda leader, Zawahiri has called upon the people of Bangladesh to fight, according to him, the crusaders against Islam. We are quite sure the people of Bangladesh will treat it with the disdain it deserves. But, notwithstanding the many incongruities of the tape, and many questions about the authenticity of the message, it would be unwise to treat it lightly. It is necessary to unearth the actual source and authenticity, but till then it will be appropriate to consider it with due diligence and proceed therefrom.
Although we have never had to face religious extremism of the intensity that some Muslim countries in the world, particularly Afghanistan and Pakistan, have faced and are still facing, there has been existence of this phenomenon in the country for sometime, the manifestation of which we saw in the activities of the JMB and HUZI, who reportedly, drew their ideological motivation and sustenance form al-Qaeda.
And although these two indigenous extremist groups have been decapitated, there are remnants who may well be lying in wait to pounce at the appropriate time. And that is what our strategy to combat religious terrorism should focus on --- defeating their ideology. It is important to do so in order to close the source of recruitment. Although we have heard of a counter terror strategy for Bangladesh we are not privy to how it is being implemented. This is national problem that requires consensus cutting across party line to combat effectively.