|Native name||সালাহ উদ্দিন শোয়েব চৌধুরী|
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury|
January 12, 1965
Sylhet, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury (born 12 January 1965) is the editor of the Bangladeshi tabloid Weekly Blitz, the most influential anti-Jihadist newspaper in Bangladesh, and is editor-in-chief of vernacular weekly Jamjamat.
In 1996 he established the first private television channel in Bangladesh, A-21 TV. He has been physically assaulted three times and kidnapped once in Bangladesh due to his anti-jihadist views and his inclination to work with Israel to create an intercultural understanding between Israel and the Islamic world.
Choudhury is the eldest child in his family.
In 1989, Choudhury started his journalistic career as a correspondent for the Soviet Union's TASS news agency. In 1991, he was promoted to the rank of chief correspondent in Bangladesh. He left TASS in 1996; as, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the agency had to close down many of its world offices..
In 1996, he established the first private television channel in Bangladesh, named A-21 TV.
Choudhury has written a number of books in Bengali and English. His latest book, Injustice & Jihad, was published in October 2007. In May 2008, Italian publication house Neftasia published Choudhury's book titled Non Sono Colpevole in Italian. This was the first book by any contemporary Bangladeshi journalist translated into Italian.
Inside Madrassa was published in October 2009 in Bangladesh. In this book, Choudhury gave extensive information on madrassa education, including unknown facts, Jihadist orientation inside madrassa, hate speech and many other important thus interesting topics, mostly related to radical Islam.
Choudhury opened a branch of the Israel-based International Forum for Literature and Culture of Peace. He wrote about the rise of al-Qaeda in Bangladesh and has written articles critical of anti-Israeli and antisemitic attitudes in Muslim-majority countries.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the advisor of Bangladesh Minority Lawyer's Association since 2005.
HRH Prince Albert of Monaco awarded the 2007 Monaco Media Award to Choudhury for outstanding courage and commitment in confronting the culture of religious hatred.
Choudhury also received the Key to Englewood, (a city in New Jersey, United States), from Mayor Michael Wildes. Teaneck, New Jersey Mayor Elie Katz also gave him the certificate of moral courage in 2007 on behald of the City of Teaneck.
In July 2006, a mob stormed the premises of Choudhury's tabloid and beat him, fracturing his ankle. In September, a judge ordered the case continued, in spite of the government's reluctance to prosecute, as Choudhury had "spoiled" the "image of Bangladesh" and "hurt the sentiments of Muslims" by lauding Jews, Hindus and Christians. After the police detail that had been posted to Weekly Blitz's offices since the July bombing had vanished, the offices were ransacked and Choudhury was badly beaten by a mob. When he lodged a formal complaint with the police, an arrest warrant was issued for him. The US Embassy in Dhaka sent an observer to his trial.
On 18 March 2008, members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) abducted Choudhury from his office at gun point. He was blind folded and taken to RAB office. In the late hours, Choudhury was released. Series of written complaints were sent with the military controlled interim government on this incident, but no action was ever taken by the Bangladesh authorities against the RAB men. CFP; Assam Tribune
The same month, the military-controlled interim government withdrew police protection from Choudhury's residence..
On 22 February 2009, armed thugs belonging to ruling Bangladesh Awami League entered Choudhury's office, ransacked the entire office and physically assaulted him and other members of the Weekly Blitz newspaper. Although a specific case was already lodged with the police station on the day of occurrence, there is no action yet by the law enforcing agencies against the culprits who are sheltered by the ruling party. CFP;
Choudhury is facing charges of sedition, treason, blasphemy and espionage since January 2004 for having tried to attend a conference of the Hebrew Writers' Association in Tel Aviv. He violated the Passport Act, by attempting to travel to Israel in November 2003. The Act forbids citizens from visiting countries with which Bangladesh does not maintain diplomatic relations, usually punishable by a fine of $8. It may be mentioned here that Bangladesh currently does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan and Israel. However, the travel ban on Taiwan was silently lifted while people started business with Taiwan in spite of the travel ban. On 29 November he was taken into police custody and, as he tells it, blindfolded, beaten and interrogated for 10 days in an attempt to extract a confession that he was spying for Israel. He spent the next 17 months in solitary confinement, and was denied medical treatment for his glaucoma. On intervention of US Congressman Mark Kirk, who spoke to Bangladesh's ambassador to the US, Choudhury was released on bail, though the charges were not dropped.
He is the editor of Weekly Blitz, the most influential anti-Jihadist newspaper in Bangladesh, and editor-in-chief of vernacular weekly Jamjamat. He also is the editor of Daily Frontline.
Choudhury's articles appear in various international press on a regular basis. He also is considered to be an expert on topics such as Islamist militancy and extensively works on finding root cause of Jihad . He is also invited by many reputed institutions around the world as a Speaker to give lecture on such topics as Islamist militancy, jihad, and Hate Speech and Political Islam.
Views on Islam
Choudhury rejects the assertion by Geert Wilders that there are moderate Muslims, but no moderate Islam. "My Islam derives from the Koran. This teaches that Muslims, Jews and Christians will all be rewarded for good deeds and punished for evil," he has said.
A leader of Bangladesh chapter of 'Iflaq', a Haifa-based organisation, Salauddin Shoib Chowdhury was carrying compact discs (CD's) and papers containing write-ups on some sensitive issues including 'minority repression and the al Qaeda network in Bangladesh', police said.
Shoaib was managing director of the planned Inquilab Television until he was sacked last year.
Members of different law enforcement agencies and Shahjalal immigration officials apprehended him at the immigration counter minutes before he was to leave for Bangkok by the Biman flight, BG-084, at 10:30am.
"He introduced himself as the editor of the 'Blitz', an entertainment magazine published from Dhaka, and said he was going to Bangkok," a top police officer said yesterday on condition of anonymity.
"Searching his luggage, we found a number of CD-formatted write-ups and papers that clearly proved his contact with Tel Aviv," he said. "He was going to take part in a conference in Tel Aviv scheduled to begin on 1 December", the police officer added.
It was however learnt that Shoaib's movements were being monitored for quite sometime on suspicion of his connection with the Israeli secret service 'Mossad'.
"He was going to Bangkok first and was scheduled to fly for Israel, a country Bangladeshi citizens are barred from travelling to," he said.
After release from 17-months imprisonment, Choudhury wrote in an Israeli newspaper "I also stand before you perhaps as a living contradiction: a Zionist, a defender of Israel, and a devout, practicing Muslim, living in a Moslem country." He said "I believe in the justice of the Zionist dream. I also acknowledge this historical reality: that the world has endeavored to crush that dream and, yes, even to destroy the viability of the Jewish people. At the same time, I live in an environment where people believe just as passionately in an opposing view—one that sees Israel as illegitimate; and the Jewish people as evil incarnate."
Choudhury's father Ghulam Ather Choudhuri died on 29 March 2003, while his mother Sharifa Choudhury died on 9 August 2005. Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury was in prison when his mother died. The then-government in Bangladesh refused a petition by his family for him to attend his mother's funeral.
Choudhury was the managing director of Inqilab Television, a private television venture run by a major publication the Daily Inqilab. Choudhury was also a correspondent for the Daily Inqilab. Choudhury owned a 30% stake, worth approximately $1 million according to Choudhury, in Inqilab Television. Choudhury claims his ownership share in the television station was sold without his consent. In first court appearance, Choudhury claimed that his arrest was motivated by the financial dispute over his ownership stake in Inqilab Television.
Support for Choudhury
The campaign to get the government of Bangladesh to drop all charges against Choudhury is being led by Dr. Richard Benkin. Benkin, like Choudhury, is an Advisory board member of Islam-Israel Fellowship. Dr. Benkin and Choudhury together formed Interfaith Strength to disseminate information about Choudhury's case. On 6 September 2005 Dr. Richard Benkin registered as a foreign agent with the US Department of Justice, under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). According to the document filed with the US government, Dr. Benkin registered as a foreign agent with Lutfuzzaman Babar, former State Minister for Home Affairs of Bangladesh, as his principal, for a sum of $5000 per month to prepare and disseminate informational materials via radio or TV broadcasts, magazines or newspaper articles, letters or telegrams, press releases and the internet. He was hired to disseminate this information to public officials, civic groups or associations, legislators, newspapers and editors. Benkin's decision was made in response to initially positive actions by the Bangladeshi government with respect to Choudhury as well as human rights issues. When it became clear to him, however, that these moves by the BNP government were only perfunctory, he ceased working with the government after only one month. Benkin refers to Babar as one of many sources of information about the Choudhury case in a few newspaper articles of that period. Although those who have been trying to cover up the Bangladeshi government's role in persecuting Choudhury (especially leftists related to the then-opposition Awami League, a left-center party) have tried to make much of Benkin's former relationship with the Bangladeshi government, they have failed to convince anyone that it has any bearing on the case.
In 2008, Kazi Aiz, a fundamentalist Muslim and an official of an Islamic organisation, Khalefat Andolin Bangladesh [KAB], has publicly sided with Choudhury, calling the charges against him "false" and called on the Bangladeshi government to end its ban on travel to Israel.
US House Resolution 64
On 15 February 2007, House Resolution 64 passed the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs without opposition. The resolution, introduced by Representatives Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Nita Lowey (D-NY), calls on the government of Bangladesh to drop all charges against Bangladeshi journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury charged with sedition for writing pro-Israel reports. The penalty for conviction could be death. The vote on the resolution was held on 13 March 2007 and the resolution passed by a vote of 409 to 1 with 4 members voting present.
Choudhury and the Weekly Blitz have influenced government policy and popular opinion in Bangladesh. The articles have prompted the Bangladeshi government to ban the Islamist group Hizb-ut Tahrir and the antisemitic publication Dajjal, which is published by another notorious Islamist militancy group named Hizbut Towhid. A campaign against Zakir Naik led Britain and Canada to refuse him entry.
In March 2011, Aryeh Yosef Gallin, founder and president of the Root and Branch Association which is a nonprofit group that promotes co-operation between Israel and other nations, expelled Choudhury from its Islam-Israel Fellowship after reports surfaced that the Bangladeshi had bilked "emotionally vulnerable single Jewish ladies" out of tens of thousands of dollars. On 7 November 2012, The Dhaka court sent Salauddin Shoaib Choudhury, editor of local English Weekly Blitz to jail, in connection with an embezzlement case filed by his business partner Sajjad Hossain. He has had a long-standing confrontation with William Nicholas Gomes; Gomes has attempted to expose what he considered his yellow journalism. Gomes has also exposed Shoiab false news on Hina Rabbani.
- "About Us". Weekly Blitz. Dhaka. 15 February 2012. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
- International Federation of Journalists (11 July 2006). "Office of controversial magazine Weekly Blitz bombed, Bangladesh". Centre for Independent Journalism. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
- "Stand up for Salah Choudhury". ajc.org. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- "Non sono colpevole Choudhury Salah U" (in Italian). 25 April 2008.
- Bangladesh: Journalist detained, The Committee to Protect Journalists, 3 December 2003
- Honorary Member Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury Archived 12 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine., PEN USA (with time table of events)
- Wall Street Journal urges Bush Administration to protect Bangladesh journalist Choudhury from persecution, by Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune, 12 October 2006
- Michael Freund, US slams trial of Bangladeshi newsman Archived 24 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine., Holiday International, 3 November 2006
- Darkness in Dhaka – A gadfly Bangladeshi journalist runs for his life by Bret Stephens, The Wall Street Journal, 15 October 2006
- Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2003, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 25 February 2004
- Bangladesh's Muslim Zionist on trial The JC, By Brian Sacks, 2 September 2010
- Man with 'Mosad links' held at Shahjalal, The Daily Star, 30 November 2003
- Shoaib Choudhury, Salah Uddin (13 June 2005). "A letter from a friend of Israel". Israel Insider. Archived from the original on 26 December 2005. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
- Bio of Dr. Richard Benkin, Interfaith Strength
- Registration Statement of Richard Benkin Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine., US Department of Justice, 6 September 2005
- US lobbyists hired for image building, 'positive' reporting, The Daily Star, 10 April 2006
- Bangladesh to Frame Sedition Charge against Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury by Dr. Richard L. Benkin, Asian Tribune, 19 May 2006
- Bangladeshi Islamists Bomb Independent Newspaper by Dr. Richard L. Benkin, Asian Tribune, 6 July 2006
- Appeasement of Islamists Adherence to Injustice Send US-Bangladesh Relations into Decline, by Dr. Richard L. Benkin, Asian Tribune, 3 November 2006
- The papers noting Benkin's ending the relationship with the Bangladeshi government, including the date, are on file with the United States Department of Justice.
- "Fundamentalist Muslim wants Bangladeshi Government to end its ban on travel to Israel". Retrieved 14 January 2016.
- "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 139". Office of the Clerk. U.S. House of Representatives.
- Luxner, Larry (13 June 2012). "The unfathomable life of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury". The Times of Israel.
- "Blitz editor sent to jail". The Daily Star. 10 November 2012.
- "Yellow journalism of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury". ModernGhana.com. 19 January 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Yellow Journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury: Attack on Hina Rabbani Khar". Salem-News.Com. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "British paper alleges ISI role in Hina-Bilawal affair rumors". Pakistan Today. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- An Interview with Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury: Will America Act to Save One Courageous Man's Life?, The New York Sun, 10 November 2006
- Pro-Israeli editor beaten in Bangladesh by Michael Freund, The Jerusalem Post, 17 October 2006
- Interfaith Strength, website run by Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury and Dr. Richard L. Benkin
- Rendezvous With Israeli Peace Writer: Prof. Ada Aharoni by S. Choudhury, Weekly Blitz, reprinted by the International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace
- Benkin, R. L. (31 October 2006). "President Iajuddin Ahmed: Restore Faith in Bangladesh Justice, Drop Choudhury Case". Weekly Blitz.
- BANGLADESHI SUFFERS FOR ADVOCATING ISRAEL TIES By Larry Luxner, JTA via Canadian Jewish News, 2 January 2007