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Monday, July 20, 2009

Religion of intolerance: Bangladeshi reporter faces death for pro-Israel views

I have written several times about Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, a Bangladeshi reporter who has been 'investigated' for expressing pro-Israel views many times since 2003. I last wrote about him here, and have wondered about him often since. He's in the news this morning, and unfortunately, it's not good news.
On Wednesday, Choudhury returns to court. He is accused of insulting Islam and harming the state's reputation abroad, charges which, when couched as "sedition," carry a possible death penalty.

"According to my lawyers in Bangladesh, the government is determined to conclude the trial as soon as possible," he wrote in a public letter over the weekend. "No one knows what will be the verdict. But, of course, seeing the past track record, we cannot hold any hope for a good [result] because the court is not applying its judicial mind, but trying to appease the Islamists."

Choudhury's newspaper offices were bombed on July 6, 2006, after he expressed public sympathy for the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam.

On October 5, he was attacked in his office by a mob that included prominent members of the then-ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which historically has aligned itself with Islamist parties in the country, who accused him of being an Israeli agent. He was badly beaten.

Choudhury was the subject of US House Resolution 64 of March 13, 2007, which objected to continued "harassment and intimidation" and his incarceration in 2004 for 17 months without legal recourse, during which he was placed in solitary confinement and "suffered harsh interrogation techniques and received no treatment for a debilitating case of glaucoma," according to the resolution.

The House resolution called for the Bangladeshi government to "immediately drop all pending charges against Bangladeshi journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury… and take steps to protect Mr. Choudhury."
I trust President Obumbler's silence will be as deafening as usual.

Will we be heard?


JPost has a letter from Choudhury.
After the general elections of December 2008, the present Grand Alliance [of Left-leaning parties led by the Awami League] came to power with a huge mandate from the people of Bangladesh because of its secular ideology and commitments to combating radical Islam.

But since coming to power, there has been no sign of any actions toward combating religious extremism. Rather, like all previous governments and regimes, the present government is continuing to appease the Islamists.
If the President of the United States appeases the Islamists, why should any other government not believe that it has to do the same?


At 10:29 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the rare moderate Muslim persecuted for his views. The government of his own country wants to make an example of him precisely because he's not what a good Muslim should be: extremist, anti-Israel and anti-Western. His views are outside the mainstream of thinking in the Muslim World and that's what makes his plight manifest and his courage so heart-breaking.


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