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Dialogue is Dangerous


In the Middle East, dialogue can be hazardous to your health and liberty. Salah Uddin Shoab Choudhoury, editor of the Weekly Blitz in Bangladesh , is a practicing Muslim and ardent advocate of dialogue and moderation. He has written articles against Islamist extremism. He agreed to open a Bangladeshi branch of IFLAC, a group that advocates dialogue through literature and culture. He was to address an Israeli writers conference on the role of media in bulding peace.

Salah Uddin Shoab Choudhoury was arrested on Saturday evening as he left Dhakka and charged with spying for Israel, on the false allegation that IFLAC is an Israeli government organization. He has been remanded for 7 days without bail for interrogation. The interrogators apparently include known Muslim extremists. At present we have no further information information.

Ami Isseroff

Last Update: 30/11/2003 13:57

Bangladeshi media man held for allegedly spying for Israel


Dhaka - Police in Bangladesh have arrested a local media man for allegedly spying for Israel, press reports said Sunday.

The leading English daily Bangladesh Observer said Shoaib Choudhury, editor of Blit magazine and former
chief executive of a private television channel, was detained overnight at Dhaka airport before boarding a flight for Singapore.

Airport police also seized from him documentary proofs of his alleged involvement in spying for Israel against Bangladesh and other Moslem countries.

The reports quoting intelligence sources said Choudhury was hired by the Israeli authorities to set up an office of the International Forum for Literature and Culture of Peace in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka.

The Israeli organisation reportedly establishes non-government contacts with Moslem countries which have no formal diplomatic relations with Israel.

Choudhury reportedly told police that he was on his way to Singapore to collect his travel papers from the Israeli embassy there for going to Tel Aviv to take part in a literary

Bangladesh has no diplomatic relations with Israel and maintains no contact with that country.

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Replies: 1 Comment

This is not a matter of dialogue or Jewish/Muslim issue. Salahuddin knew very well that Bangladeshi citizens are not allowed to visit Isarel and this was stamped clearly in his passport. Instead of seeking permission from the authorities for his visit, he took a sneaky path and was arrested as such.

What you all don't know is that he is no prominent journalist there. His weekly magazine didn't have proper permission either. He is a known fraudster who defrauded a lot of people financially and otherwise. Now is the most stunnign revealation - he is a known criminal of terrorist nature. He sent e-mail death threat to former Bangladeshi prime minister S. Hasina and few other officials and was later apprehanded in 2000. After spending seven months behind the bars, he came out on bail from the high court and the case is still going on in Dhaka district judge court. At the end, this "prominent columnist, journalist and advocate of dialogue" will most likely receive 7-12 years jail term.

The present government was particularly incensed not because of his travel to Israel but because of his anti-state and trecherous acitvities. In Jerusalem Post and few other Israeli media, he wrote articles describing his fantastically fantacised day dreaming stories about Islamic radicalism in Bangladesh. Nothing could be any farther from the truth. At a moment when the whole world is going through a turbulant time, such stories clearly unnerved the government because of its potential negative impact on the country's image. To show his moderate face before the Israelis, he tried to blacken the face of the whole nation. It is also possible that he was trying to suck some money from the Israelis in the name of promoting dialogue. By the way, Bangladesh government did not charge this guy with espionage. He was charged with anti-state activities. Espionage story was trumped up by the local media.

Imagine a Israeli coming to Bangladesh and telling us that the Jews there are dying for Muslim bloods and that he is a sane voice speaking from the wilderness!

I am sure Israeli intellectuals will be welcome to visit Bangladesh and promote understanding but they have to be open about Palestine issue and find the right person in Bangladesh to do the job. Involvement with such criminals simply cast doubt on the motive of the Israelis. Bangladeshi people are not dying to see the destruction of the Jews or the Jewish state but to see the birth of the Palestinian state.

Posted by Parvez @ 12/05/2003 07:03 AM CST

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