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‘Racial groups, religion do not represent violent acts’

  • Published at 04:09 pm October 5th, 2020

People are carrying out violent acts and creating intolerant environment in the name of protecting religions

Neither racial groups, nor religion inherently represents violent acts, said Zakaria Shafi, CEO of Cloud Tuition based in the UK.

Terrorism has no religion. These groups of people who talk, think, act in a certain way, act intolerably to a certain group based on the information and education they receive, he said at a webinar titled, “The Role of Youth in Protecting Diversity, Tolerance, and Pluralism,” on Sunday.

This was the last of the three episodes series, moderated by Ayman Sadiq, CEO of 10 Minute School.

Mentioning that people across the globe are carrying out violent acts and creating intolerant environment in the name of protecting religions, is due to two factors—role of media and social media, and personal reasons, said Zakaria Shafi. 

However, he said, there are Hindus in Bangladesh who are “very peaceful” and “welcoming,” and on the other part of the border, in India, there are more “harsh and violent” groups.

There is nothing inherent in Hinduism that necessitates violence. But there are political ideologies existing in our society for political gain or motives, said Zakaria.

When it is at an individual level, the question is – why are people getting into these narratives, and not favoring diversity.

“We noticed that in our research, people think that their identity is at risk,” said Zakaria.

Pluralism is not accepting general views, but rather not discriminating based on another’s view, said the CEO of Cloud Tuition.

Power of education can adjust this narrative, he stated.

“We have a strong counter narrative against that… we have to look to strengthen each other, support each other, and educate.”

Another panelist Shamsin Ahmed, founder and CEO at Identity Inclusion, spoke on mental health.

“During this pandemic….we spent a lot of time on social media, because of our work online. That resulted in all these hate crimes increasing. If we practiced good mental hygiene, then we would take our time to listen to people, ask questions. If you have questions over something you disagree with, you can inbox them,” she said.

She urged educational and other institutions to address mental health and to teach students and their staff how to identify fake news from reality.

“We are talking a lot about mental health, but we are not investing,” said Shamsin Ahmed.

Simi Mehta, CEO and editorial director of the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI) based in India, said youth recruitment to violent extremist groups is through the family structures.

“Unfortunately, there are parents who are unable to communicate…about the struggle that the families are going through,” she said.

A good education and the proper upbringing are needed for communication and providing a safe environment, she said, adding: “That fosters rebellion among youth… leading them to join extremist groups.”

Besides, loss of family members during military operations make the survivors join extremist groups.

Sajid Iqbal, a founder and CEO of the Change, a youth-led development organization committed to promoting renewable energy, spoke on Covid-19 waste.

Jenny Gustafsson, a journalist and cofounder of Switch Perspective, talked over migration and media in the session.

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