Bangladesh has said it rejects any narrow and misinformed interpretation of Islam, religion of peace, and denounced the use of religion to justify violent extremist acts.“Violent extremists do not belong to any religion. We denounce the use of religion to justify violent extremist acts. We reject any narrow, misinformed interpretation of Islam, our religion of peace,” State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam told the “Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism-The Way Forward” held at the United Nations Office in Geneva.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Didier Burkhalter, Foreign Minister of Switzerland, delivered the keynote statements as co-chairs of the conference held on Thursday-Friday, said a Foreign Ministry statement received here from Geneva on Friday night.
The conference was attended by ministers from Belgium, Cameroon, Mauritania, Sudan, the United Kingdom, the Maldives, Malaysia, Czech Republic, Guinea Bissau and Luxemburg, and the representatives from international organisations.
Speaking at the high level segment of the conference, the Bangladesh State Minister said, “In Bangladesh, we maintain a zero tolerance approach to terrorism and violent extremism. We’re also making progress in stemming the flow of terrorist financing.”
Highlighting the need to address the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism, he highlighted Bangladesh’s pro-poor and pro-people development strategy that include sustained investment in human development to reduce poverty, enhance women’s social mobility, create employment opportunities, and strengthen human rights and the rule of law, and foster children with a tolerant and scientific outlook in aspiration to build a knowledge-based society.
Shahriar also underlined Bangladesh’s partnership with the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) to further work through community-based organisations.
He expressed commitments to continue to remain a reliable partner of the UN in fighting terrorism and preventing violent extremism globally, regionally and nationally.
On the sidelines of the conference, the State Minister had a bilateral meeting with the Baroness Anelay of St John’s DBE, Minister of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK, to discuss on further strengthening the areas of mutual cooperation, including in the field of preventing radicalisation and violent extremism in respective societies through information and experience sharing and technical cooperation.
The British State Minister expressed UK’s willingness to cooperate with and support Bangladesh in this regard.
Bangladesh State Minister also requested his British counterpart to look into the issue of the ongoing difficulties being faced by Bangladeshi citizens in obtaining British visa.
Earlier, Shahriar had a meeting with Baroness Patricia Scotland, the newly appointed Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
During the Meeting, the Commonwealth Secretary General briefed the State Minister about Commonwealth’s future plans in the field of preventing violent extremism, including the idea of more intense cooperation between the judiciaries among the Commonwealth countries.
The State Minister for Foreign Affairs also attended a Ministerial Lunch hosted by the UN Secretary General and Swiss Foreign Minister on Friday.