Family, kinship, and friendship
Though the internet has emerged as a powerful tool of radicalization, family, kinship, and friendship remain relevant factors. As Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies scale up their operations, there is a tendency among violent
The role of civil society 189 extremists to adapt the security environment by recruiting from a safer pool. In this regard the social relations play an essential role in radicalization in Bangladesh (Riaz and Parvez 2018). Bangladeshi women’s participation in violent extremist movements, for example, are primarily linked to the family factor (The Daily Star 2016). According to Bangladesh police, over 66 percent of the female terror suspects in the country became involved in militancy after being influenced by their family members, mostly their husbands (The Daily Star 2018).
Recent radicalization cases in Bangladesh show that a lack of family bonding, a crisis in personal life, and frustration arc pushing the youth towards the path of radicalization. With the boom in urbanization, the traditional family structure is eroding in the country. Families are no longer playing the central role in a person’s moral upbringing. Bangladeshi youth today are spending more time online space than in the family. As a result, the internet contents influence and shape their worldviews. Even matters related to faith, their first source of information, are the internet where the extremists arc visible. It is undeniable that, despite an impressive economic growth record, Bangladesh currently faces a developmental crisis. A toxic political culture, the lacuna in governance, a high level of corruption, and a lack of opportunities for young people continues to create new inequalities in the society. Violent extremist groups arc exploiting frustration in the society, instilling a desire among some to create an extremist utopia branded as the Islamic Caliphate. Violent extremists arc also exploiting various crises of the Muslim communities in the neighbouring countries and beyond. They arc doing so by emphasizing the concept of Ummah and providing an explanation of and justification for the use of violence for political and social change.
Bangladesh’s education system is a core factor behind the rise of violent extremism. The country’s education system is a farrago of various streams of education: general, religious, Bengali-medium, English-medium. Although the literacy rate in Bangladesh has increased over the last five decades and, at present, the number of educational institutions is higher than ever before, unfortunately, none of the streams of education encourage creativity and critical thinking. Many observers believe that the Bangladeshi education system itself lacks quality and creates narrow-mindedness. It is also failing to create a competent workforce. Moreover, the education system is unfair because it has commodified education to the extent that one’s educational opportunity' is determined by his/her family's economic capability'. The existing curricula have created a binary worldview among the vulnerable youth and have contributed to the shrinking of shared space, tolerance, and respect for different views and opinions. Thus, campuses arc actually becoming the new recruitment ground of the violent extremist groups.