August 10, 2008, - 2:25 pm

IMPORTANT: Update on Trial of Heroic Muslim, Shoaib Choudhury, Facing Death Penalty; Fasting Today

By Debbie Schlussel
Today is the Jewish fast day, “Tisha b’Av,” which marks the day, the Ninth of Av on the Jewish calendar, on which both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed. Five major tragedies happened to the Jewish people on this day, so we take the day to remember and mourn those and all the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people. (On Tisha B’Av in 1492, the Jews were officially expelled from Spain, for example.) I’ve been fasting since yesterday, and the fast lasts almost 25 hours–no food or drink (the no drinking part is the hard part). Read many more details on the fast day from my entry about it, last year.
I felt that, in light of the Jewish fast day, I would give you an update on the case of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, the true moderate Muslim, who is on trial for his life in Bengladesh, because he wrote pro-Israel, pro-Christian, and pro-Jewish sentiments in his newspaper, “The Weekly Blitz“.


Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury:

Courageous Muslim Faces Death for Praising Jews, Christians

First, there is this article by our friend Michael Freund of the Jerusalem Post, covering the trial. Read it.
Also, here is an e-mail Shoaib sent me on Friday, prior to the Jewish Sabbath. Note the disgusting way he is being treated and the manner in which this witch hunt is being perpetrated. It is amidst this that I am uplifted that you, my readers, have cheered up this brave man and done a great thing sending moral support to this uniquely righteous and courageous person. I sincerely thank you for that, and I urge you to keep it up. You can also help support this man by putting an ad in his newspaper, the details of which follow his e-mail:

From: Salah Choudhury
Date: 2008/8/8
Subject: From Shoaib
Esteemed Debbie Schlussel:
Shabbat Shalom!
I must express sincerest gratitude, admiration and thanks for your precious support to me and my family by bringing my case to your thousands of readers. Such support makes me greatly indebted to you and may I express my sincerest thanks to all, who are continuing to write me after reading in your blog.
As you may know by now, on Thursday my lawyers cross examined the plaintiff of the case, Mohammed Abdul Hanif, former officer-in-charge of Airport Police Station. The next dates are August 31 and September 1, 2008 for cross examination. There are 20 witnesses in this case, all fixed by the government.
Generally, I have to appear in the court by 9:00 am on the court dates and stay till 4-5 pm. Accuseds are not allowed to sit in the court rooms, thus are forced to stand for hours and of course sweat in the extreme hot weather. There is no fan at the waiting portion of the court rooms. Moreover, I am not allowed to drink water, eat anything, unless the trial is over.
On Wednesday, when I went to the court, I was having high fever [103 degree] and severe headache and pain in other parts of the body. So, I went inside the court room and sat at a back bench which is fixed for generally members of press [as you know, I am a journalist too]. But, the additional Public Prosecutor after seeing me asked the police to drive me out of the court room. He was making jokes. I brought this matter to the attention of some high officials in the government, but there is no action for such audacious behavior of the Additional Public Prosecutor. Some of the newspapers in Bangladesh, like Daily Amader Shomoy, published news on the trial saying “after four years of framing the charge, the case has seen the light of trial”. It is evident that these newspapers want to see me convicted.
As you may know, I am facing sedition, treason and blasphemy charges. The charge was framed on 13.11.2006, where the judge said:

I, Md. Momin Ullah, Metropolitan Session Judge do here by accuse you Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury for the following reasons:
The State Prosecution has brought allegation against you, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury stating that, being the editor and owner of Blitz newspaper, you sent an article titled “Hello Tel Aviv” to USA Today newspaper published from Washington. Furthermore, in 2003, while attempting to travel to Israel to attend a conference titled “Education Towards Culture of Peace,” organized between 1st December to 3rd December 2003, you appeared at the Zia International Airport on the 29th November 2003 and the Immigration police arrested you and found the copy of the speech you prepared to deliver in the conference. In that speech, you have made offensive comments on Muslim world, Islam and Muslims in Bangladesh and commented about existence of Al Qaeda and other Islamist militant groups, by which you have tarnished the image of Bangladesh in the outside world. Furthermore, you have made conspiracy of spreading anti-state news through that speech and you by sending that speech to outside world, you have played offensive role to Bangladesh’s security, public discipline and adverse role towards Bangladesh’s relations with the outside world. In you report, you have mentioned about guerilla training in the Bangladeshi madrassas, by which you have influenced the religious sentiments and made imaginary stories abroad about jihadist training in favor of Laden, Arafat and Saddam, by which you have put Bangladesh’s foreign relations to threat and through this you have caused offense under Penal Code Section 505 (A), 295 (A) and 120 (B).
The allegations were read before the accused and he claimed to be innocent (not guilty) and prayed for justice.
Md. Momin Ullah
Metropolitan Session Judge

Please note here, although the judge refers to an article titled “Hello Tel Aviv”, which was reportedly published in USA Today, in reality, there is no such existence of any article, nor did I ever write any article for USA Today. The entire case is based on mere imagination of the police, investigation officer and Bangladeshi authorities. Main reason behind their anger is, I am promoting interfaith understanding, demanding relations between Bangladesh and Israel and confronting radical Islam as well as oppose Holocaust Denial.
As per my own assessment, the trial will conclude in next 2-3 months. If the judge will convict me, Section 120 [Sedition] bears capital punishment [death penalty]. On the other hand, he may convict me for life term or for several years. But, I am mentally prepared to accept any of such adversity. In case, I am executed, my daughter Priyanka [who is now 18 years] and son Hanzalah [who is 8+] will continue my mission.
Weekly Blitz, which is the only Zionist newspaper in the Muslim world [] shall also continue its mission. Because of our editorial policy confronting radical Islam and culture of Jihad, local businessmen refrains from advertising in Blitz. But, some of my friends abroad, occasionally accord support to this newspaper through advertisement. This has been the only source of income for my family, for Weekly Blitz and the ongoing legal expenses.
Once again, my profound grartitude to you and your friends and readers, for your precious and kind support.
May G-d bless you all!
Journalist, Columnist, Author & Peace Activist
Editor & Publisher, Weekly Blitz
PEN USA Freedom to Write Award 2005; AJC Moral Courage Award 2006
Key to the Englewood City, USA [Highest Honor] 2007; Monaco Media Award, 2007

While I am hungry and very thirsty as I fast today, I think not just of the destruction of the Jewish temples in Jerusalem, the expelling of the Jews in 1492 from Spain, and the precarious position in which Israel and the Jewish people find itself today, but I also think of this brave, courageous man, who could lose his life for daring to speak out, for daring to do what’s right and urge moderation in his religion and love for that of others.
**** HOW YOU CAN HELP: Salah Uddin Shoiab Choudhury is a modest man. He would never ask for financial help, but we need to help him and his family and show our support. Here’s how you can do it, the details of which Shoaib sent me in response to my inquiry:

Esteemed Debbie Schlussel:
Shabbat Shalom!
In fact, as you may know, I never have collected any money from my supporters as donations to cover my legal expenses. Rather, a part of income from my newspaper’s advertisement goes into this matter.
We shall gratefully accept advertisement in Weekly Blitz as per following tariff in the mentioned bank account:
Print Edition:
Front Page, Two Colors [Black & Red], US$ 30 Per Column Inch
Front Page, Colored, US$ 45 Per Column Inch
Back Page, Two Colors [Black & Red], US$ 21 Per Column Inch
Back Page, Colored, US$ 25 Per Column Inch
Inner Page, Single Color, US$ 10.00 Per Column Inch
Inner Page, Colored, US$ 12 Per Column Inch
Internet Edition:
Small Display Advertisement, US$ 500 Per Month,
Small Display Advertisement, US$ 5,000 Per Year.
Banner Advertisement [At the top or bottom of the page]
US$ 1,200 Per Month
Banner Advertisement [At the top or bottom of the page]
US$ 12,000 Per Year
Amount may be wire transferred to:
Bank Name: Bangkok Bank
Savings Account Number: 0580062818
Swift Code: BKKBTHBK

Please help him, if you can.
Other past entries about the plight of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, here and here.

5 Responses

Thanks Debbie for all you do. I am not Jewish.. but I think that we have more in comman than not.. (other than a few minor details)! But I think that we share the same love of freedom. But there is a continous struggle against those who take our freedoms.
Modest Men anchor our society.. So, many struggle for Our freedoms!

PrincessKaren on August 10, 2008 at 5:21 pm

I wish him luck, and I invite hiim to the U.S.A if he gets out-we need those like him.

mindy1 on August 10, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Why are you giving the “Religion of Peace” a hard time again? Can’t you see that it’s *obvious* this Moozlim is a seditious Benidict Arnold to his own faith.
The Prophet Muhamed told them it was thier DUTY to kill any jew or infidel. Soooo, they have every right to kill and murder anyone who even associates with us. For we are the devil!
P.S. – Debbie, We haven’t played cowboys and Arabs yet : )

RC Flyer on August 11, 2008 at 8:16 am

Why are you giving the “Religion of Peace” a hard time again? Can’t you see that it’s *obvious* this Moozlim is a seditious Benidict Arnold to his own faith.
The Prophet Muhamed told them it was thier DUTY to kill any jew or infidel. Soooo, they have every right to kill and murder anyone who even associates with us. For we are the devil!
P.S. – Debbie, We haven’t played cowboys and Arabs yet : )

RC Flyer on August 11, 2008 at 8:17 am

Where is Clueless Condi? Shouldn’t she be expressing concern and asking the Banglas to “show restraint”? Idiot BanglaMuzzies–they’re acting like they are an oil-rich sheikdom. What has Muzziehood done for this basket case cesspool? A nation of morons.

lexi on August 11, 2008 at 9:43 am

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