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Moderate Muslim editor beaten; faces death penalty for views

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 18, 2006 08:29 AM

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Support Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Michael Freund at the Jerusalem Post reports on a travesty. Where is CAIR?

A Muslim journalist facing charges of sedition for advocating ties with Israel was recently attacked and beaten by a crowd in Bangladesh that allegedly included leading officials of the country’s ruling party, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, editor of the Weekly Blitz newspaper, an English-language publication based in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, was working in his office on October 5 when nearly 40 people stormed the premises.

The mob beat Choudhury, leaving him with a fractured ankle, and looted cash that was kept in the company safe. Choudhury was briefly hospitalized.

According to a statement appearing on the Web site of the Weekly Blitz, the attackers were led by Helal Khan, international affairs secretary of Jasas, and included Babul Ahmed, Jasas’s secretary-general. Jasas is the cultural wing of the ruling Bangladeshi National Party (BNP).

During the assault, Ahmed is said to have shouted at Choudhury, labeling him an “agent of the Jews.”

In a photo taken shortly after the incident that was obtained exclusively by the Post, Choudhury can be seen hunched over a table wearing a torn shirt while a Bangladeshi policeman dressed in blue chats with two BNP officials. Both officials took part in the attack.

No arrests were made, and police refused to allow Choudhury to file charges against his attackers.

As the Post first reported last month, Bangladesh is moving forward with plans to try Choudhury on charges of blasphemy, sedition, treason and espionage in connection with his articles critical of Islamic extremism and favorable to Israel.

After several delays, his trial is due to start in Dhaka on Thursday. If convicted, Choudhury faces the death penalty.

I first blogged about Choudhury here.

The Free Choudhury site is here.

The American Jewish Committee
has voiced its support here.

Petition the Bangladeshi government here.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, a Bangladeshi journalist and the editor of Blitz, the largest tabloid English-language weekly in Bangladesh, is currently facing a sedition trial for speaking out about the threats radical Islam poses in Bangladesh. Mr. Choudry’s trial is set to begin on Thursday, and if he is found guilty, he could face the death penalty.

AJC and other human rights organizations are calling on world leaders to press Bangladesh to end its persecution Mr. Choudhury, who was arrested in November 2003 when he tried to attend a conference in Israel and imprisoned under extremely difficult conditions. Although he was released last year thanks to the tireless efforts of many government officials including US Congressman Mark Kirk, the Bangladesh government continues to harass Mr. Choudhury, intent on silencing him and his views.

In May 2006, AJC presented Mr. Choudhury with its Moral Courage Award recognizing his efforts to promote dialogue between Muslims and Jews and his courage to speak the truth against Islamic extremism. However, the Bangladesh government prevented him from visiting the United States to receive the honor.

Speak out for Mr. Choudhury by emailing Ambassador Shamsher M. Chowdhury and calling on the Bangladesh government to grant Mr. Choudhury his freedom. Urge US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to echo these calls and urge the Bangladesh government to free Mr. Choudhury.

Please raise your voices.

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Carl in Jerusalem notes that Choudhury’s newspaper website, The Weekly Blitz, appears to have been gutted:

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