August 03, 2007

Selling the Islamic extremism appeal

Bangladeshi Journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Chowdhury has been controversial since long because he was a journalist of the right wing Islamist Daily Inquilab and later on entered into a partnership with Islamists to establish a private TV channel. Then he had a dispute with them and he was thrown out of the partnership. Probably because of that he faced many difficulties including jail terms and a farcical sedition case against him. The former Bangladeshi ambassador to US claimed Choudhury's incarceration was related to a "purely internal financial dispute" that had "nothing to do with his attempted travel to Israel" or his journalistic activities. His proclamation that he is a Muslim Zionist probably incited the Islamists (who were also a part of the past Government) to take stand against him. He has succeeded to create much buzz in the West to amplify the repressions against him. However in local media fraternity he has almost zero support.

But he is doing no justice to the cause either. His fight against Islamists have now deviated to stereotyping and generalization. He has forgotten that this is a new Government and during the tenure of this Government he did not face any repression. Even he was allowed to fly to USA (He was arrested last time when he wanted to go out of the country).

After he was given a warm welcome in USA he thanked his hosts, the American Jewish Committee with some generalized rhetorics. From the Sun:
Mr. Choudhury said Bangladesh is swiftly moving in favor of Islamic extremists.

"If someone wanted to build a school in Bangladesh, they would be faced with all kinds of bureaucracy," Mr. Choudhury said. "But if they wanted to build a madrassa, they could do so with ease."

According to Mr. Choudhury, the people of Bangladesh are not critical of America. The government, however, which he described as "extremely radical," harbors deep resentment towards America.
WTF? Which Government is he talking about? As a journalist can he prove his statements? Does he know that without showing evidence this can put him in trouble again (since an emergency is in place). Or is he really wanting to come in the limelight again by creating new controversies?

I think the Government should leave him alone because we need to see what contribution Mr. Chowdhury brings to this country when he has all his freedom and no charges are against him. Let people judge his activities whether he is worthy of any medal or is only an empty vessel.
"We need more people in the world with the courage Mr. Choudhury has displayed," the executive director of the (American Jewish) committee, David Harris, said.

"Instead of being criminalized, he should have been given a medal for all he has done for Bangladesh," Mr. Cotler said.


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