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Bangladeshi Editor Facing Attack by (Seemingly Government-Linked) Mob, Criminal Trial, and Possibly the Death Penalty for Advocating Ties With Israel:

The Jerusalem Post reports:

A Muslim journalist facing charges of sedition for advocating ties with Israel was recently attacked and beaten by a crowd in Bangladesh that allegedly included leading officials of the country's ruling party, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, editor of the Weekly Blitz newspaper, an English-language publication based in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, was working in his office on October 5 when nearly 40 people stormed the premises.

The mob beat Choudhury, leaving him with a fractured ankle, and looted cash that was kept in the company safe.... According to a statement appearing on the Web site of the Weekly Blitz, the attackers were led by Helal Khan, international affairs secretary of Jasas, and included Babul Ahmed, Jasas's secretary-general. Jasas is the cultural wing of the ruling Bangladeshi National Party (BNP)....

In a photo taken shortly after the incident that was obtained exclusively by the Post, Choudhury can be seen hunched over a table wearing a torn shirt while a Bangladeshi policeman dressed in blue chats with two BNP officials. Both officials took part in the attack.

No arrests were made, and police refused to allow Choudhury to file charges against his attackers.

As the Post first reported last month, Bangladesh is moving forward with plans to try Choudhury on charges of blasphemy, sedition, treason and espionage in connection with his articles critical of Islamic extremism and favorable to Israel.... If convicted, Choudhury faces the death penalty....

Recall that Bangladesh, though not much in the news in the U.S., is the seventh most populous country in the world, has the fourth largest Muslim community, and is the third most populous Muslim-run country (after Indonesia and Pakistan). Thanks to lawprof Steve Lubet for the pointer.

donaldk:
Maybe 1000 years will humanize these savages.
10.18.2006 2:59pm
Steve:
Maybe. I didn't realize it was your intent to let them live, though.
10.18.2006 3:15pm
FantasiaWHT:
Bangladesh is the 7th most populous country in the world?? *bug eyes*
10.18.2006 3:16pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
FantasiaWHT: Yeah, I was shocked when I learned that, too.

DonaldK: Setting aside the tone, let's think about the substance -- it does seem like a good chunk of the Islamic world has been captured by a militant, violently intolerant strain of Islam. But recall that we're only three hundred years removed from the intra-Christian wars of religion, and modern Christianity has learned a good deal since then. (Even the strains of that Christianity that many see as intolerant are generally not violently so.) Parts of the Muslim world are now where important parts of the Christian world were a lot fewer than 1000 years ago.
10.18.2006 3:55pm
Colin (mail):
But recall that we're only three hundred years removed from the intra-Christian wars of religion, and modern Christianity has learned a good deal since then.

Three cheers for creeping liberal secularism!
10.18.2006 4:19pm
common sense (mail):
I visited the weekly blitz site and asked for a rate sheet for either sponsorship or an ad. Would anyone else be interested in pitching in for a paid sponsorship to the effect of

bloggers support
a free media
10.18.2006 5:30pm
EricH (mail):
Parts of the Muslim world are now where important parts of the Christian world were a lot fewer than 1000 years ago.

Well, that's not very reassuring (although I guess it wasn't intended to be).

What was the line by Trotsky describing Stalin: "He was Genghis Khan with a telephone." E.g., 15th century thinking with 20th century technology.

The clock is ticking; not literally one hopes (i.e., Sunday NFL football games)
10.18.2006 7:23pm
JoshL (mail):

Bangladesh is the 7th most populous country in the world?? *bug eyes*



Keep in mind the relative sizes of countries. China and India are far and away the biggest (each over a billion people), with the US in 3rd at 300 million (which is still 67 million more than the next closest, Indonesia). There are only 11 countries total that contain more than 100 million people- you cross 40% of the world's population just including the top 3 (China, India, and the US).
10.19.2006 12:17am
markm (mail):
"Bangladesh is the 7th most populous country in the world?? *bug eyes*" Why is that a surprise? It's small, but it's all river delta, some of the most fertile land in the world. Although, when the weather gets stormy or the river rises, "land" might be over-optimistic...

I was more suprised that Indonesia is more populous. That's just a collection of islands, including a good many tribes too primitive to feed themselves solely through agriculture.
10.19.2006 3:52pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Professor, I disagree that Islam has been 'captured' by violent extremists. It has always been violent.

What's changed has been its reach -- EricH's point.

No Muslim today is any more violent and intolerant than the Mahdi, who wiped out Gordon's army in Khartoum. England eventually got around to retaliating against the Mahdi, but in those more leisurely days, it took 13 years to do it.

No one in London worried, between 1885 and 1898, that Mahdist terrorists were going to blow up St. Paul's.

The lesson of history about Muslims is that they are as violent as they can get away with, given the technology of the age. They were cowed between roughly 1700 and 1990.

You can think of that as the the Islamic political equivalent of the benign interglacial climatic period that civilization arose in.

In both cases, a reversion to the prevalent situation is inevitable. The only difference is, we can alter Islamic politics if we want to.
10.20.2006 4:56pm