PM seeks global effort to block terrorists’ weapon supply line

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RIYADH : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday called for a concerted global initiative to block supply lines of weapons and money to terrorists to ensure the effectiveness of anti-militancy campaign.

“We must stop the source of supply of arms to the terrorists and we have to stop the flow of financing to the terrorists and their outfits,” she said in a written statement to the Arab-Islamic-American Summit at King Abdulaziz International Conference Center in the Saudi capital here.

The Bangladesh premier simultaneously urged Muslim nations to shun divisions within Islamic Ummah and pursue the principle of peaceful settlement of international disputes through dialogues for “addressing the divides leading to a win-win situation for all”.

Saudi Arabia’s King and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, US President Donald Trump and Presidents and premiers of Arab region and other Islamic countries also spoke on the occasion.

Sheikh Hasina said terrorism and violent extremism posed a major threat not only to global peace and development but eventually also to human civilization.

“Its spread would not spare any country, religion or people,” she said.

The premier said Bangladesh maintains “zero tolerance” policy to all forms of violent extremism and always stood firm against any terrorist individual or entity barring them to use its territory or resources.

“Terrorists do not have any religion, belief or racial identity though they may come from any religious background,” she said calling upon the world leaders not to use Islam to refer to the terrorists.

Being a religion of peace, the premier said, Islam never supports violence or killing and “we denounce the use of religion to justify any form of violent extremism”.

The Bangladesh premier said war-ravaged countries like Iraq and Syria became centres of recruitment and operation for terrorist organizations and called for launching a reconstruction and development plan for such middle-east countries following the instances of US-sponsored post-Second World War Marshall Plan.

Sheikh Hasina, however, feared that the global refugee crisis could largely contrinute to the rise of terrorism and violent extremism as “refugees could be a potential breeding ground of terrorists and extremists”.

She said the image of 3-year-old Aylan, lying lifeless on the seashore, or the image of blood-stained Omran in Aleppo shakes everyone’s consciences while “I can hardly take in these images as a mother”.

“I feel the pain of refugee as I myself had been a refugee,” she said referring to her family’s captive life during 1971 Liberation War and days in exile following the assassination of her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of the family members in 1975.

“I and my younger sister had to take refuge abroad for six years till 1981. Who else could better realize than me the pain of a refugee,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the long-time suffering and deprivation of the people of Palestine always cause a sense of injustice in the minds of the young generation and so “we must act together for the establishment of a Palestinian State”.

The premier highlighted Bangladesh initiatives in combating terrorism saying law enforcement agencies were well prepared and equipped with proper training to combat extremism and they effectively dealt with homegrown terrorists but added that her government adopted a multi-pronged strategy also engaging society to address terrorism and extremism.

“We have effectively dealt with homegrown violent extremists. A number of local outfits have been banned. These elements used to get support from some vested quarters,” she said.

Simultaneously, she said, her government launched a massive campaign to make people aware against the menace.

Sheikh Hasina said she personally was holding meetings and exchanging views with all sections of society, specially with public representatives, teachers, students and Imams of mosques across the country to build a social movement against terrorism and militancy.

The premier said she was delighted to have the opportunity to the first ever Arab-Islamic-American Summit and expressed her gratitude to King Salman for the the invitation.

Sheikh Hasina also thanked the King for his initiative to establish the Islamic Counter Terrorism Centre in Riyadh. Bangladesh is happy to be a founding member of this Centre, she said.

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