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Bangladeshi migrants not involved in extremism

Study says 89.9 pc of them respect their Bengali identity over any other classification

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 24th November, 2022 06:50:21 PM
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Bangladeshi migrant workers don’t like any sort of radicalism and exposure to violent extremism among them is very insignificant.

But 2.3 percent of the migrant workers donate their hard earned money for different religious activities.

These have been found in a study titled ‘Understanding of Profoundness and Prevalance of Radicalization and Extremist Ideology Among Bangladeshi Migrant Workers’ conducted by Jahangirnagar University Professor Dr Shahab Enam Khan in association with the BRAC Migration Programme.

The study was based on a survey interviewing 400 returnee migrants who have comeback from different countries, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Libya, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries.

The study was conducted between April to September this year in Cumilla, Tangail, Chattogram, Dhaka and Munshiganj districts.

Joining virtually from the United States, Shahab Enam Khan shared the findings of the study at a workshop on ‘Radicalization and International Migration: Perception and Realities from Bangladeshi Perspective’ at the Brac Centre in the capital on Thursday.

According to the study, 89.9 percent of Bangladeshi migrant workers respect their Bengali identity over any other classification.

Some 44.8 percent of expatriates spent money on charity. Forty one percent of respondents think politicians can change society for the better, while 34.2 percent rely on young people and young politicians and 18.1 percent depend on civil society members for bringing positive changes in the country.

Only 5.8 percent of the respondents believe that the religious leaders can change the society in a positive way.

Sahab Enam Khan said that 17.6 percent of migrant workers share religious knowledge on social media and 4 percent of them use social media to gain and publicise religious knowledge.

The strong family bonding and sense of responsibility towards family members discourage Bangladeshi migrant workers from violent extremist activities, he added.

The research has made economic and social discrimination more responsible for pushing people towards extremism rather than religious issues.

According to it, wrong or radical religious narratives can become a significant cause of radicalisation among migrant workers due to their low level of skills and education. The study has found that migrant workers have a lack of ability to find differences between hate speech, communal contents, and extremist narratives.

The survey identified financially aggrieved migrants without skills to assimilate with the changing socio-economic environment in Bangladesh and young and female migrants with a lack of religious literacy more vulnerable and at risk to violent extremism.

The research made a number of recommendations including training of workers about the destination country’s laws and culture, encouraging technical and vocational education, enhancing internet governance and digital literacy, ensuring law enforcement-community-parent-school network, establishing institutional support for the returnee migrants and developing awareness about extremism through media.

Chief Guest Additional Inspector General of Police and head of the Special Branch Monirul Islam delivered concluding remarks.

He said, “As the fifth largest labour sending country in the globe with more than ten million Bangladeshis working abroad there is no way we can ignore the potential danger no matter how little the possibility of actual threat might be.”

He said no single institution can deal extremism. It might be fought on all fronts with all resources the country have.

Deputy Director of Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) Deputy Director Zahura Mansur, Deputy Commissioner of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) Habibun Nabi Anisur Rashid, Consul of Consulate of the Republic of Singapore Sheela Pillai, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) Secretary General Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, among others, were present in the programme anchored by Programme Head of Brac Migration Programme and Youth Initiatives Shariful Islam Hasan.