The writer of the following article, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, editor of Bangladesh’s largest tabloid weekly, Blitz, was jailed for 17 months in 2003 when he was about to leave for Israel to attend a symposium. The Bangladesh government will not allow him to go to Washington this month to receive the American Jewish Committee’s Moral Courage Award. From Saying No to Jihad:
In Bangladesh, gradually people are raising their voices against religious hatred and Islamist militancy, and they are echoing the concept of establishment of relations between Israel and Muslim countries.
I am a living contradiction to today’s phenomenon in the Muslim world – a Zionist, a defender of Israel, and a devout, practicing Muslim living in the second largest Muslim country in the world.
Unfortunately, most of the Muslims in Bangladesh, as in many of the other Muslim countries, are under the impression that Jews are the ultimate enemies of Muslims and of Islam. My request to them, please visit Israel at least once, meet the Jews or at least find one Jew anywhere in the world.
The United States is not the greatest threat to us; neither are the Jews, Zionism, Western culture, nor so-called “infidels.” No, the greatest threat to us is the same thing that threatens non-Muslims, that threatens us all. It is a dedicated cadre of individuals who justify killing innocents by falsely using our faith.
I am a devout Muslim and I know that my faith, my Koran, does not award 70 virgins to those who murder children and seek to destroy the faith of our mutual prophet Moses – our Jewish cousins who preceded us in our journey of faith.
I salute those brave Muslim brothers and sisters who have the courage to say: “No!” to hate; “No!” to Holocaust-denial; “No!” to jihad; “No!” to the demonization of Israel, the United States, and the Jews.