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.”

salahchoudhury.jpg

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury:

Courageous Muslim Faces Death for Praising Jews, Christians

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 salahuddinshoaibchoudhury@yahoo.com
To: Richard Benkin drrbenkin@comcast.net
Sent: Wednesday, August 6, 2008 10:08:12 AM
Subject: Shoaib’s Trial Begins
HELLO FRIENDS!
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.
REGARDS
SHOAIB

Adds Lori:

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.

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8 Responses

Thank you for informing your readers of this man’s plight. I have sent him an email, encouraging him. He is an example for us all.

lonewolf on August 6, 2008 at 6:35 pm

I’ll send an email later tonight. Poor guy; hope he lives.
Already boycotting Bangladesh; homespun and growing your own cotton is much better than slave-labor crap.

bhparkman on August 6, 2008 at 6:59 pm

The ever tolerant religion of peace (((sigh))). So if any religion is praised except Mohammad’s cult of monsters, then a person can expect a head chopping. Seems as though Bangladesh have enough problems without turning the world off on them. I don’t buy there cheap crap anyway, so they’ll never get any satisfaction from me!

Jackson Pearson on August 6, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Being an Indian, I’ve boycotted products from Pakistan and Bangladesh (formerly known as East Pakistan) forever.
India has a similar problem with illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and those illegals have imposed sharia law wherever they have set base in India (mostly the eastern states). They are a bane not just to India, but to the world!
I used to have a few Bangladeshi acquaintances, and one of the so-called moderate acquaintance became a real fundamentalist after graduation. Growing a long beard, wearing a Pathan outfit (in Chicago) and spending hours daily in the MCC mosque in Chicago is his current routine now! Too bad that the *very rare* truly moderate people like Choudhury get their heads on the chopping blocks, literally. My prayers go out for this man. I hope there’s international intervention and he gets out like Taslima Nasreen.

anonymous twit on August 6, 2008 at 9:02 pm

I’ve just e-mailed this unfortunate man. Can anyone please suggest someone in our government I can contact who might be able to help Chaudhury? I’d gladly write a letter, pleading his case.

commonsense on August 6, 2008 at 11:16 pm

I wrote to Mr. Choudhury and he responded the next day. Just wanted to share it with you. The courts are still agonizing this man and his family. They won’t drop the case but still continue to threaten him for supporting Israel.
He has alot of courage, belief in what is right and love for his country. He wants his people to have freedom and continues to fight for it.
THANKS FOR YOUR PRECIOUS SUPPORT.
KINDLY NOTE THAT, MY LAWYERS TODAY CROSS EXAMINED THE PLAINTIFF [PARTIALLY]. NEXT COURT DATE IS ONB AUGUST 31 AND SEPTEMBER 1, 2008.
I AM GREATLY INDEBTED FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND PRAYERS.
G-D BLESS!
SHOAIB
SALAH UDDIN SHOAIB CHOUDHURYJournalist, Columnist, Author & Peace ActivistEditor & Publisher, Weekly Blitz http://www.weeklyblitz.net PEN USA Freedom to Write Award 2005; AJC Moral Courage Award 2006Key to the Englewood City, USA [Highest Honor] 2007; Monaco Media Award, 2007
— On Wed, 8/6/08, ruth goetz <> wrote:
From: ruth goetz
Subject: keep the faith
To: salahuddinshoaibchoudhury@yahoo.com
Date: Wednesday, August 6, 2008, 10:57 AM
I met you in Baltimore when you visited here. We have faith that G-d will
protect you. Keep the strength and faith.
Ruth Goetz
Baltimore, MD

gr8muscles on August 7, 2008 at 11:42 am

Shoaib Choudhury is my dear friend and brother. Although he appreciates any gesture of kindness, he does not support the boycott of Bangladeshi textile products. He DOES NOT want anyone else to suffer on his behalf. If a boycott were to succeed it would deprive thousands of poor Bangladeshis of a living in a place where millions of people live in absolute financial desperaton, without any hope of other employment.
It is a natural impulse, when someone you care about is in trouble, to want to do something to help. It is horribly frustrating when there is nothing one can do. I understand this, but a boycott is not what he wants.
Here is something you really can do. Follow the progress of Shoaib’s trial on this blog. Stay in touch with your senators and representatives. Ask them to put continued pressure on the Government of Bangladesh to release Shoaib, and ASK THEM TO CONTACT THE STATE DEPARTMENT ON HIS BEHALF. Although the U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh has been helpful to Shoaib, we need to move the discourse up to the highest possible level. Ask our govenment to assure that that our ambassador in Bangladesh will speak to the head of government
there. This should not be carried out by lower level diplomats, no matter how much they may care personally for Shoaib.

loraxel on August 18, 2008 at 7:41 pm

When a man face a hard trouble then he needs help for solve the problem, that time who help him if he gets insult by him what you will tell about him? I was in jail at 10 cell with him in Dhaka central jail. Mridha solayman

mridha solayman on April 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm

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