Hasanul Haq Inu, president of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, said the fight against discrimination and fundamentalism must continue for us to have a decent society.
He said this on Saturday at the webinar, "Political economy of religious fundamentalism and extremism: Indecent opponent of decent society" organised by the Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA), read a press release.
The webinar is the seventh of the 'BEA 13-series webinar on decent society,' based on the research book, 'Society-Economy-State on the big screen: In search of a decent Bangladesh rising from the catastrophe of the virus' written by Professor Abul Barkat, known as the economist of the masses.
Quoting the book, Inu said, "After the assassination of Bangabandhu in 1975, the nation started walking in the opposite of the desired direction. At present, fundamentalists have infiltrated mainstream politics and the education system and they might try to seize power focusing on the frustration the pandemic has brought upon us."
Using an analogy, Inu said, "If you allow pigs to enter a garden, they will destroy it and in the same way, if militant fundamentalists are sheltered within a democracy, they will ruin everything. There is no middle ground here."
"As we defeated the Pakistani army in 1971, we now must drive out the fundamentalist forces," Inu urged.
During his speech, Hasanul Haq Inu also praised Professor Barkat's book saying the book is informative.
"I agree with Professor Barkat's writing. He is right in saying that people are blinded by the misinterpretation of religion, and fundamentalism is used as a weapon in politics," Inu added.
AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik, retired judge of the Appellate Division of Bangladesh Supreme Court, who was present at the webinar, said fundamentalists have now entered the Awami League.
"Nowhere in the world are counter-revolutionaries saved after a revolution because counter-revolutionaries are opportunistic. But the opposite happened in Bangladesh. Fundamentalists rose because of financial aid and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Founder Ziaur Rahman started this, and even to this day, Pakistan and its allies continue to finance terrorism in Bangladesh," he added.
Al Qaderi Joy, president of the central committee of the Socialist Students Front and central coordinator of the Progressive Students Alliance, also took part in the discussion.
He said that radical and capitalist forces are working hand in hand.
Complaining about Hefazat, Joy said, "Hefazat opposes the women's policy of 2011 and with that group, our leaders have maintained a relationship just like with the ones before them. They have changed the textbook responding to Hefazat's demand, relocated the sculpture of Themis, and recently declared Dawra-e-Hadith equivalent to a master's degree."
He claimed that communalism is being introduced in society by depriving farmers, workers, and students.
Joy added that to build the good society Professor Brakta mentions in his book, we first have to fight fundamentalist forces to have a society free from exploitation.
Saturday's webinar was moderated by Sheikh Ali Ahmed Tutul, assistant secretary of the Bangladesh Economic Association. At the end of the session, he declared the next webinar date, which is 8 May, where the discussion will focus on globalization.
The book the 13-series webinars are based on, "Society-Economy-State on the big screen: In search of a decent Bangladesh rising from the catastrophe of the virus" is written by Abul Barkat, professor and former chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Dhaka, and founding chairman of the Department of Japanese students. It was jointly published by the Bangladesh Economic Association and Muktobuddhi Prokashona.
The 716 page book consists of 12 chapters and has a welcome remark by Noam Chomsky, a linguist, philosopher, and social critic.