August 6, 2008, - 11:18 am
VERY IMPORTANT: Trial Begins Today for Pro-Israel Muslim Journalist in Bangladesh; Send Him E-Mails of Support; Don’t Buy Clothes From Bangladesh
By Debbie Schlussel
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
Lori Lowenthal Marcus informs me that the trial of our friend, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, began today. As readers know, I’ve written about the plight of Mr. Choudhury and he has quoted me in some of his work.
Choudhury–a Muslim, one of the few truly moderate ones–is on trial in Bangladesh, under penalty of death, for daring to advocate ties with Israel, trying to travel there to deliver a speech, and for attacking extremism in Islam. For those “crimes against humanity” he not only stands trial but may lose his life. Yet there is virtually no media coverage. He is an independent journalist and the editor of “The Weekly Blitz.”
But the mainstream media journalists who usually pay special attention to the plight of other journalists are turning a blind eye. The only one who has really been covering it is the fantastic Jerusalem Post investigative reporter Michael Freund, who turned me on to the story.
Lori sends this e-mail from Choudhury to Richard Benkin, the American who long ago took up his cause. I urge you to send him an e-mail of moral support:
From: Salah Choudhury email@example.com
To: Richard Benkin firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Wednesday, August 6, 2008 10:08:12 AM
Subject: Shoaib’s Trial Begins
GREETINGS FROM DHAKA.
TODAY, AUGUST 6 2008, FINALLY THE TRIAL BEGAN WITH THE PLAINTIFF GIVING HIS TESTIMONY IN THE COURT. TOMORROW [THURSDAY] IS THE DATE FOR CROSS EXAMINING THE PLAINTIFF.
SO, NOW REALLY MY LUCK HANGS INTO PENDULUM OF BEING EITHER ACQUITTED FROM THE CHARGE BY THE COURT, OR ACCORDED CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. THE PROSECUTION IS POSSIBLY HOPING TO SEE ME DEAD. THAT IS MY PERSONAL OPINION ALTHOUGH.
WITH BEGINNING OF THE TRIAL, BANGLADESH GOVERNMENT HAS FINALLY LEFT A STRONG MESSAGE TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY THAT THEY DO NOT CARE UNITED STATES OR EUROPE OR US CONGRESS OR EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT OR AUSTRALIAN SENATE OR MILLIONS OF MY FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS AROUND THE WORLD.
SO, TODAY [WEDNESDAY] I WENT TO THE COURT AT 9:00 AM AND HAD TO STAND IN THE DIAS TILL 5:00 PM. TOMORROW WILL BE THE SAME THING.
AS I SHALL FACE THE TRIAL, I WILL REMEMBER, MY FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS AROUND THE WORLD ARE SPIRITUALLY WITH ME, PRAYING FOR ME AND I AM NOT ALONE.
LET US REMAIN STRONG, AND LET US DEFEAT THOSE ENEMIES OF PEACE TOGETHER. G-D IS WITH US AND WE SHALL WIN.
Please at least send Shoaib an email and let him know you care about him, are praying for him (if that is something you do) and that you hope he – this apparently lone, loving moderate Muslim – will be spared the death sentence. I have never had a friend in real danger of being murdered by a government decree. If that happens, G-d help us all. Please, let him know that you believe his light must not be extinguished.
I’m sending him one, but I’m also asking you, my readers, to stop buying items made in Bangladesh. Various clothing, towels, and cloths you find at Target, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, and higher-end stores are made in Bangladesh. The country is one of the most extremist Muslim countries on the planet–and that’s a tough contest. They are virulently anti-American, anti-Semitic, and now they are trying to murder this innocent man for being peaceful and tolerant. We should not be supporting an economy that fosters this type of behavior and sentiment.
Boycott Bangladesh. And PRAY FOR SALAH UDDIN CHOAIB CHOUDHURY.
Choudhury has repeatedly been put on trial for these charges.
Flashback from my November 2006 entry on the Choudhury trial:
Before the trial began, Bangladeshi government thugs beat him.
Today’s Wall Street Journal editorial on the trial exposes his other “crimes.” He’s apparently being charged with “praising the Jews and Christians.” Yup, welcome to the Islamic state, where that sort of thing is not tolerated:
On Monday in a Bangladesh courtroom, a judge read the following charge to a defendant [Choudhury]: “By praising the Jews and Christians, by attempting to travel to Israel and by predicting the so-called rise of Islamist militancy in the country and expressing such through writings inside the country and abroad, you have tried to damage the image and relations of Bangladesh with the outside world. For which, charges under section 295-A, 120-A, 124-A, 105-A, and 108A are brought against you.
Hmmm . . . Why didn’t the introduction of “Sesame Street” in Bangladesh stop this? Apparently–and way too predictably, kumbaya “We Are the World” BS doesn’t work very well.
Time for more elephants to get angry with Bangladesh.
**** UPDATE: Reader Raymond points out the hypocrisy of the Bengladeshis:
I find it ironic that Choudhury is being persecuted for his friendship with Jews and Israel when the National Assembly Building in Dakah was designed by architect Louis Kahn – an American JEW.