Round Table Discussion on Bangladesh
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A Round Table Meet on ‘Developing Counter Narrative to Radicalization: Bangladesh Experience’ was held at Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi, on the 11th of November, 2016. Visiting expert from Bangladesh, Lt. Col. (Retd.), Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir, recipient of Swadinata Padak, Bangladesh’s highest civilian award and author of several books, was the key speaker.

Col. Sajjad, who has been actively engaged countering the impact of Islamic radicalization at the grass root level, in his address, dealt with a vast spectrums of issues including role of Islamic institutions, educational entities, mosques and madrassas, hate speeches and motivational lectures by religions leaders, preachers, and that of cyber space and the social media in promoting radicalization, particularly amongst the over 8.2 million youth. He also looked at the role of workers returning from the Middle East and the enormous amount of unaccounted money flowing into the system that promotes and sustains the radical movement.

Col. Sajjad made an impassionate plea for radicalization to be studied as a composite whole rather than merely a religious issue. He highlighted the fact that with over 3 lakhs 50 thousand mosques registered in the country and the vast network of madrassas, the social spectrum of Bangladesh today faces the daunting challenge of having to insulate and protect the young minds.

The speaker argued in favour of reversing the role of the vast existing network of the madrassa an important role in developing the counter narrative thus hitting at its very roots at the school level. Similarly, he recommended that governments could re-look at the policy of encouraging sending of workers to the Middle East where they easily get exposed to radical Islamist thinking. Besides, the returning workers could possibly be used mould the minds of the radicalized youth by the fanatics for the spread of Islamist ideology. Col. Sajjad emphasized on developing a peaceful and a co-existent South Asian Islam which envelopes the uprightness and humaneness of Islam in our society.
The meeting was attended by a large well informed audience which participated in a lively debate that followed the presentation. Discussants also suggested various measures through which the two countries could cooperate in evolving an effective counter-narrative.

Event Date 
November 11, 2016
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