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Filmmaker’s plea

Calcutta, Feb. 5: Shahriar Kabir, the Bangladeshi human rights activist, journalist and filmmaker, today warned against the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, which outfits like the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Hefazat-e-Islam are accused of promoting in his country and which the Sheikh Hasina government is trying to prevent.

Following a screening of the third part of his trilogy on jihad, The Ultimate Jihad, at the Institute of Historical Studies in Calcutta, Kabir urged secular forces to join hands to fight fundamentalism.

“Although fundamentalists across the world are in a close-knit network, it is unfortunate that those who are secular and are against fundamentalism do not even know of each other’s presence,” he said.

“The situation in Bangladesh has turned volatile as the Jamaat is seeking revenge for their defeat in the 1971 war. The rise of outfits like the Jamaat and the Hefazat must be prevented at all costs and Bangladesh is showing the way,” Kabir added.

In his documentary, he has used Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt and Turkey as case studies. He has highlighted how the secular aspirations of leaders such as Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Gamal Abdel Nasser are being undermined by outfits like the Jamaat in Bangladesh, the AKP in Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

“Fundamentalists of Bangladesh are trying to brainwash schoolchildren. They are being sent to Pakistan and Afghanistan for training to associate themselves with extremist activities,” Kabir said.

According to him, Bangladesh has shown that any country can enact domestic laws for the trial of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Bangladesh has been in the grip of bouts of violence after the hanging of its first convicted war criminal, Abdul Quader Mollah, for the massacres he perpetrated during the 1971 War of Liberation.

Kabir accused the US of provoking fundamental elements in Islamic countries.