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01.08.2018 Opinion

It Is Time For Dhaka-Jerusalem Cooperation

By Keya Mukharjee
It Is Time For Dhaka-Jerusalem Cooperation
LISTEN AUG 1, 2018

Once again, thanks to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her administration for releasing Mr. Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury after 5 years and 8 months of wrongful imprisonment. Choudhury is not only an advocate of interfaith harmony but being a patriotic Bangladeshi, he has always been demanding relations between Bangladesh and Israel; which must certainly will be infinitely rewarding to both the nations, especially to Bangladesh. Choudhury wants to see a very strong Bangladesh having tremendous advancement in science and technology including medical science. All of us know Israel is at the forefront of those nations claiming to have attained the status of technological superpower.

Mr. Choudhury’s release took place at a very crucial time when Bangladesh is quickly moving towards another general election in December this year. Islamists (even those demanding or dreaming of transforming Bangladesh into a rogue sharia state like Iran) and or radical Hindu groups like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are putting tremendous pressure on Indian government in expelling 4 million Bangla-speaking “illegal immigrants” from Assam. In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself also made pledges during his election campaigns in 2014 of expelling this huge Bangla-speaking (mostly Muslims) population from India and push them into Bangladesh territory.

Though Sheikh Hasina’s relations with India are in excellent term, but in reality Sheikh Hasina has done everything for India while in exchange she received nothing save some blank promises. This would never happen should Bangladesh hade Israel in its side. Because, Israel not only has tremendous influence on India but would most definitely stand in favour of Bangladesh in resolving any bilateral issues between Dhaka and Delhi.

All of us are aware that Donald Trump and his entire team are very rightly showing sincere and unconditional support towards the Jew state. He and his administration are also vigorously combating radical Islam and religious extremism. She should have been the best ally of Trump administration. But, unfortunately everything got jeopardized and even puzzled when Donald Trump sees Bangladesh as one of the worst enemies of Israel.

Such a wrong foreign policy had unfortunately placed Bangladesh at the same status as Iran and these antisemitic nations. The Jewish community around the world too did not consider Sheikh Hasina on their friend or ally because of her diplomatic blunders, which included the prolonged imprisonment of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury who not only is a prominent advocate of interfaith harmony but also most possibly is the lone defender of the Jewish state from inside Bangladesh.

Under any circumstances, if during the December 2018 election, parties like Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jamaat e Islam, Hefazat e Islam or the radical Islamic groups get into power through popular vote (as because anti-Semitism and radical Islam are being secretly spreading within the Bangladeshi society); Bangladesh will turn into another Iran. We need to remember, Bangladesh is the third largest Muslim country in the world and it would be terribly unwise in letting this country slip into the hands of radical Islamist groups.

So, it is extremely vital in ensuring that Sheikh Hasina and her secular administration get a smooth third consecutive term. For attaining this crucial goal, Dhaka needs to reshuffle its foreign policy, ignore the illogical fear of nations like Iran and take the right step similarly as Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman. Dhaka needs faster approach in at least removing travel ban on Israel, stop hostile attitude towards the Jewish state, and refrain from anti-Semitism and holocaust denial. This is an extreme crucial moment for Bangladesh.

Hopefully, Sheikh Hasina can succeed in appointing individuals like Mr. Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury as her envoys of peace to spread the excellent deeds of Sheikh Hasina against militant Islam as well effectively convince the Trump administration in extending total support towards Ms. Hasina.

For Sheikh Hasina, she really is running out of time. Her government is sitting on a time bomb which is ticking silently. For Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury it is also essential to engage his total dedication in defence of Sheikh Hasina and her administration for the sake of saving Bangladesh from going into the evil grips of radical Islam.

Keya Mukharjee is a political analyst and investigative journalist. She writes for Gatestone institute.

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