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“The Muslims of Bangladesh want also a good relationship with Israel and not just the minorities.”

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Human rights activist Mendi Safadi believes “More steps in favor of liberalization aside from removing the Israel travel ban on Bangladeshi passports must be taken.” (Photo: gnnhd.tv)   

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After Bangladesh removed the Israel travel ban from their passports only to claim that it changes nothing, Ali Riaz, a political science professor at Illinois State University, told DW that “a person who can secure a visa to visit Israel cannot be stopped or prosecuted for the trip. There is no known law that will preclude one to visit. However, whether the government uses other laws to prosecute and deter people from traveling to Israel is different altogether.”

Shipan Kumer Basu, who heads the World Hindu Struggle Committee, called upon Bangladesh to establish diplomatic relations with the State of Israel in the spirit of the Abraham Accords: “Bangladesh should establish a relationship with Israel, just like Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain did.  In fact, not only Bangladesh but all Muslim countries should establish a good relationship with Israel.”

“Jerusalem is a holy place for both Muslims and Jews,” Basu explained. “By having a positive relationship with Israel, then all devout Muslims can visit the Al Aqsa Mosque. Furthermore, peace can never be established by spreading violence. Therefore, we should all aim to avoid violence and create a brotherhood among Jews, Druze, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians and members of all other faiths. Then, there will be an era of peace across the globe.”

According to Basu, the Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and other small ethnic groups in Bangladesh are not hostile towards Israel: “The main issue was the Muslims. But, with the lifting of the travel ban to Israel on the passport, this sends a clear message, even though the government later on claimed it does not change anything. It has highlighted that now the Muslims of Bangladesh want also a good relationship with Israel and not just the minorities.”

Basu stressed that it was not always like this and how a certain Bangladeshi dissident has been treated highlights that point. “Aslam Chowdhury was arrested due to his alleged Mossad connections and for helping the minorities. He was arrested on May 15, 2016. Then, one by one, a total of 67 harassment cases were filed against him. Although he was granted bail in all the cases, he was later on re-arrested. The Bangladeshi government has treated him in such an inhumane manner.”

Mendi Safadi is the head of the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Human Rights and Public Relations. A lecturer and expert on Islamic affairs, terrorism, Syria and the Middle East, he elaborated on the detainment of Chowdhury: “Known to be a trusted lieutenant of the BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman, the Chattogram-based businessman Aslam Chowdhury was severely criticized in 2016 after several photographs went viral in social media showing him with myself. Aslam’s arrest was political and the meeting was incidental. He was arrested over an alleged plot to topple the Bangladeshi government with Israeli assistance.”

“Yet in reality, it was just a good excuse for the prime minister to move Aslam Chowdhury out of the way, as the public sympathy he gained threatened her status,” Safadi noted. 

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Since his arrest, there have been dozens of inquiries from politicians and public figures from Europe and the US who have presented facts that deny the charges against Aslam. Safadi stated that “because the government could not withstand the pressure exerted on it from Western countries, they began to invent additional charges that reached a hundred charges, and all were refuted.”

As Safadi proclaimed: “Today, Bangladesh seeks to be part of the Axis of Peace. But in order to succeed to do that, more steps in favor of liberalization aside from removing the Israel travel ban on Bangladeshi passports must be taken.”

Basu concurred: “Lifting the travel ban on Israel from Bangladeshi passports is a very important step in establishing relations between the two countries.” 

“Nevertheless, this step is taunted by the fact that the Bangladeshi foreign minister said that even though the travel ban against Israel is lifted from the passport, no Bangladeshi citizen will be able to travel to Israel, even if no official notification has been issued in this regard,” Basu concluded. “This casts a dark shadow over what would have otherwise been a positive step. This should be reversed immediately. Establishing good relations with Israel will enable us to present ourselves as a more developed nation and a champion of peace across the globe.” 

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

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Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

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