Ansar Ahmed Ullah : Secular Bangladesh Movement UK (SBMUK) hosted a seminar at the UK Houses of Parliament in London on Wednesday June 13th, 2018. The seminar titled “Secularism: Hope for Unity, Peace and Justice” was chaired by Jim Fitzpatrick MP.
Contributions were made by SBMUK’s General Secretary, Jasmin Chowdhury, ‘Creating a Movement Not Moments’ with Keynote Speakers Professor Mesbah Kamal of Dhaka University who in his presentation gave historical facts and anecdotal stories reinforcing Bengali culture as an inclusive society embracing all races and faiths. Mahjabeen Khaled MP representing the ruling party of Bangladesh, Awami League, highlighted examples of how the current government has improved minority rights, especially for women, whilst trying to provide equal opportunities for all irrespective of religious background. In addition, Bidduth Barua of International Secular Forum of Bangladesh, Denmark Chapter and Shuvo Roy of Secular Bangladesh Movement USA also emphasised in promoting unity and justice.
Question and answer session was led by Pushpita Gupta, President of SBMUK.
Attendees included Md Monirul Islam Kabir, First Secretary, Bangladesh High Commission in London, Syed Faruk, Secretary, Awami League UK, Sushanta Das Gupta, Founder of AmarMP, Ashim Chakraborty, UK Press Club, Urmee Mazhar, ATN Bangla, Saad Ahmed Saad, President, Sheccha Shebok League), Tuton Bhowmick (SBMUK) and Marisa (Christian Solidarity Worldwide).
Some of the key points discussed in the seminar included, concerns around the violent attacks on religious minorities particularly around election times in Bangladesh, law enforcement and social transformation are crucial for protecting the human rights of all communities, education, cultural and economic developments are all important part of civic engagement and creating a secular society; political parties need to demonstrate how they will address this issue in their manifesto if they want to be inclusive to all citizens of the country, upholding the principle of secularism requires commitment from government, all political parties and a joint approach from all sections of society including media and movements to protect and promote the value of secularism such as Secular Bangladesh Movement UK can help government and authorities by providing insights, strategies in the global context.