Friday, February 02, 2007

Bangladesh Update

On January 30th, the New York Sun's "It Shines For All" blog published an alarming update on the situation in Bangladesh from Irfan Malik. Malik, a friend of dissident journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, paints a worrisome portrait of the spread of radical Islamism that Choudhury has so eloquently warned about:

In recent weeks, Bangladesh is experiencing re-emergence of the Islamist radical forces with several arrests of jihadists with huge explosives and arms. Members of banned Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) are reportedly targeting the former State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar, members of his family and other secular forces in Bangladesh, when top six notorious kingpins of this militant group are awaiting death penalty. According to several reports, all of these six jihadist masterminds will be hanged to death by the end of February.

On 21st January 2007, former State Minister Babar wrote a letter to the Chief Advisor of the Caretaker Government, Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed seeking full time police protection for the safety of his life. Earlier, government withdrew police protection from the residence of the entire former minister’s of the recent past government. In his letter, Babar said, during his term in the home ministry, he took several massive steps in combating terrorism and radical forces and were successful in nabbing large number of notorious criminals as well as most of the kingpins of banned Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB). He had also successfully combating so-called communist and leftist terror groups in the southern part of the country. Such actions have restored peace, security and safety in Bangladesh. Development partners of this country have always been highly appreciative of government’s anti-terrorism and anti-radical drive, which remains as the most significant point of credits for the recent past government. Global media has also appreciated Babar’s tireless efforts in combating terrorism as well as radical-terror groups.

Unfortunately, Minister Babar's forthright stand against jihadists and other thugs has placed his life in grave danger. Men such as him and Choudhury represent Bangladesh's best chance of avoiding the Islamist abyss.

Meanwhile, the Sun's Daniel Freedman notes a frightening development that he has discovered from his communications with Choudhury:

During our phone conversations with Shoaib we often heard clicks, and Shoaib informed us that his phone is regularly tapped. It now turns out that the Islamists are pretending to be me in emails, in order to entrap Shoaib and his friends. Shoaib suspects that the Islamists may be intercepting his friends' e-mails through a local server (Shoaib uses a secure server).

Finally, to end on a positive note, an excellent pro-Choudhury web site has been created. Interfaith Strength offers a wealth of links and readings on Choudhury and Bangladesh, as well as information on how you can help. Click here to pay it a visit.


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