Dhaka – Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged world leaders to take a strong stance for finding a solution to global refugee crisis that contributes to the rise in terrorism and violent extremism endangering global peace and development.
“Global refugee crisis contributes to the rise in terrorism and violent extremism. Refugees could be a potential breeding ground of terrorists and extremists,” she said in a written statement on Sunday at the inaugural ceremony of Arab-Islamic-American Summit at King Abdul Aziz International Conference Centre in Riyadh.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, US President Donald Trump, Presidents and Prime Ministers of fellow Arab and Islamic countries spoke at the meeting.
Sheikh Hasina called upon all to join the launching of a reconstruction and development plan for the war-ravaged countries like Syria and Iraq on the model of post-Second World War Marshall Plan.
She said the longtime sufferings and deprivation of the people of Palestine always cause a sense of injustice in the minds of the young generation. “We must act together for the establishment of a Palestinian State.”
Regarding the war-ravaged countries like Iraq and Syria, the Prime Minister said that these countries have become the main centres of recruitment and operation for terrorist organizations.
She also proposed four specific steps like stopping the source of supply of arms and flow of financing to terrorists and their outfits alongside removing the division within the Muslim Ummah for peaceful and sustainable settlement of conflicts.
Hasina’s another proposed step is pursuing the principle of peaceful settlement of international disputes through dialogues that can address the divides leading to a win-win situation for all.
Extending her thanks to King Salman for his initiative to establish the Islamic Counter Terrorism Centre in Riyadh, she said, “We’re happy to be a founding member of this Centre.”
The Prime Minister reiterated that Bangladesh maintains a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to all forms of violent extremism. “We’ve always stood firm not to allow any terrorist individual or entity to use our territory or resources.”
She went on saying, “To us, a terrorist is a terrorist. They don’t have any religion, belief or race. They may come from any religious background. Islam is a religion of peace. It never supports violence or killing. We denounce the use of religion to justify any form of violent extremism.”
Hasina said her government has effectively dealt with homegrown violent extremists in Bangladesh as a number of local outfits have been banned. “These elements used to get support from some vested quarters.”
She said her government has adopted a multipronged strategy to address this menace. “Our law enforcement agencies have been made effective with proper training to combat extremism. We’re also working to build awareness among people against terrorism.”
The Prime Minister said she is personally holding meetings and exchanging views through videoconferences with all sections of society, especially the public representatives, teachers, students and Imams of mosques, across the country to build a social movement against terrorism and militancy.
Hasina called upon all to declare from the meeting that Islam should not be used to refer to terrorists.
Hasina turned a bit emotional recalling her refugee life saying, “I feel the pain of refugee, as I myself had been a refugee. I along with my family was internally displaced in Dhaka in 1971 during our Liberation War.”
After the assassination of her father, Father of the Nation Bangbandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with 18 members of her family, Hasina said she and her younger sister had to take refuge abroad for six years till 1981.
“Who else can better realise than me the pain of a refugee? The image of 3-year-old Aylan lying lifeless on the seashore and the image of bloodstained Omran in Aleppo shake our consciences. I can hardly take in these images as a mother,” she said.