Smelling the stink of Islamist radicals
Dr. Richard L. Benkin writes from USA
On the week of November 13, 2006, the case of Blitz editor entered a new phase. On Tuesday of that week, a resolution on his behalf was introduced in the US Congress. Two days later, the European Parliament passed a human rights resolution about Bangladesh and made specific mention of the Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury case. All week long, requests for radio interviews poured in from throughout North America. Supportive articles appeared in newspapers on several continents; and cyberspace was abuzz with the Choudhury case. More and more, it was being used to highlight Bangladesh’s deplorable treatment of journalists and the dangerous rise of Islamist extremists in the world’s third largest Muslim nation.
Ever since The Wall Street Journal first whispered a link between justice for Shoaib and the $64 million the US sends Bangladesh each year—and The Washington Times underscored a week later; the notion has been gaining momentum. Similar ties have been proposed in Canada and other countries as well. Right now, they are only ideas, not yet real proposals; but today’s resolutions can be the basis for tomorrow’s action. With
even greater peril to the Bangladeshi economy, people have also begun
wondering if it is morally correct to purchase Bangladeshi garments
when that country oppresses good men like Shoaib and supports the same
Islamists who cheered as 3000 American died on September 11, 2001. Yet,
the Bangladeshi government still refuses to take the action it can and
drop charges its representatives have frequently admitted are false. Why?
The reason they do not is because Shoaib’s fate is inextricably linked with Islamists’ intentions to take over Bangladesh and use its surplus of people as cannon fodder in their war against humanity. And
they do not do it because they have embarked on deliberate policy to
appease these barbarians and are only now beginning to sense the
consequences of that policy.
For decades, Islamists were buying and building infrastructure in Bangladesh. Well-funded by Wahabi money from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, they set up a complex of madrassas (or religious kindergartens) and other educational structures throughout the country. Awash
with funds from every clandestine “charity” in the Arab world, they
purchased media and hired on supportive journalists to purvey their
strain of bias. And they did it all quietly
while the rest of the world swallowed the Bangladeshi government’s
claims that the country did not have a problem with radicals.
Then in 2003, a lone journalist blew the lid off their subterranean operation. Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury wrote about the Islamists and their madrassas in his groundbreaking “Incubating Ultra-Radicalism.” Initially
published on a web site, the piece attracted a great deal of
attention—unwanted attention from the Islamists’ point of view. Shoaib wrote, “Bangladesh
is known as a 'moderate Muslim country' and its people have the
reputation of 'moderate Muslims,' free of rancor against other faiths.
However, our society, like many others, is being subverted by the
efforts of Muslim extremists.” That was about the last thing that the Islamists and the Bangladeshi government alike wanted the world’s donor nations to know.
“Recently,” he wrote, “law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh have captured members of quite a number of [Islamist] groups in various parts of the country….Islamic Kindergarten Madrassas
are supposed to be innocent institutions where young boys learn the
elements of Islamic faith, but these madrassas have a different
program. In the capital city of Dhaka,
even now such organizations are quite in evidence and have large
memberships. Promoters of these organizations hire huge buildings in
posh areas and target boys from the semi-affluent middle class.
Previously, madrassa education was mostly confined to
lower income and less affluent groups. However, following the emergence
of these so-called Islamic Kindergarten Madrassas in Bangladesh, the students are drawn from richer segments, and even include boys of the richest class.”
disturbing to the Islamists, Shoaib had apparently developed a good
network of informants among segments of the police, which the Islamists
considered their personal province. One of the radicals “arrested from one such institution confessed to Bangladesh
police that they were planning to have an Islamic revolution in the
country, and that they were anxiously looking for boys from the
affluent class since politics is mostly controlled by them.”
And so they arrested him; and they tortured him; and they attacked his family. But despite their actions, he refused to be silent and his supporters in the US forced the issue and got him out of prison. Next, their water carriers in the Bangladeshi government tried to convince Shoaib that they wanted to work with him. They provided a string of false assurances with subtle and not-so-subtle hints to cooperate with them. But he would not remain silent in the face of injustice at the prospect of personal gain. The
government refused to drop the charges against him; and so Shoaib’s
American supporters tried to convince the government that it was in
their best interests to do so. But
government leaders said they were “afraid of how the radicals would
react”; and so they put him on trial for his life—at the insistence of
a judge with open Islamist ties.
Which brings us to today. All of Bangladesh’s major donors have begun to smell the stink of Islamist radicals pulling the strings of the nation’s government. Further intelligence indicates that Islamist strength is likely to grow rather than weaken in the 2007 elections. Yet, Bangladesh is not taking action to secure the welfare of its people. Instead, it is paralyzed into inaction for fear “of how the radicals would react.”
is at stake in the case of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is indeed the
life of one brave man; but much more is at stake, as well. Throughout
the Muslim world others who believe as he does—and even those who do
not but hope that their children grow up in nations that are not in the
grip of ignorance and radicalism—who are watching the case and
monitoring his fate. And if he is allowed to go down at the hands of the Islamists, they will remain silent. But if he prevails over the Islamists from within the heart of the Muslim world, they will be emboldened to stand up as he did.
And that is what is at stake in the case of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury.