Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Litmus Test for the West

Remember this name: Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury.

He is the editor of a Bangladeshi newspaper. He is a Muslim.

He faces trial tomorrow in Bangladesh - among other things - for treason.

He faces the death penalty if convicted.

His treasonous acts: attempting to fly to Israel to deliver a speech on promoting mutual understanding between Muslims and Jews; and connection to articles critical of Islamic extremism and favorable to Israel.

Richard Benkin, US human rights activist and Choudhury's Jewish friend, best sums it up in the Jerusalem Post article:

"Choudhury is unique because he has not fled to the West, but continues to oppose militant Islamists from inside the Muslim world," Benkin told the Post. "He feels that if he can defeat the radicals in their own back yard it will be a victory for peace and justice unlike any other thus far."

"More and more Muslims are looking at this case," Benkin said. "They want to see if Shoaib will get the support and protection he needs from the West. If he is victorious, other Muslims will try the same; if we allow him to go down, they will remain silent."

Don't hold you breath for justice to be done in Bangladesh, nor for many human rights activists around the world appealing to Western governments to apply pressure to Bangladesh.

A true litmus test for the West to support a brave, brave man.

Five minutes to midnight - who is asleep and who is awake?

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