Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bangladesh: Anti-Islamist Paper Targeted

The Weekly Blitz is a newspaper based in Bangladesh that is anti-Islamist. Rather than going along with what is popular and acceptable in the Islamic world - tacit support for terrorism and jihad - The Weekly Blitz prints news that is more balanced, including openly condemning terrorist attacks against Israel.

For example, an article entitled Israel vs. the Cruise Ship Terrorists, dated June 4, 2010, begins as follows:

So far, the latest set-up against Israel has gone as planned. World opinion gives an easy win to the Islamists with this one. On May 31, 2010 a phony 'peace flotilla' set sail from Turkey for Gaza. The idea was to defy the maritime blockade that Israel had set up – something sanctioned by the U.S. and international law – so that terrorists could bring deadly weapons into the hands of Gaza terrorists. Israel has previous experience of seemingly innocuous ships that were heavily stocked with armaments, and it was appropriately suspicious of this convoy.

The ruse was that Gaza was suffering – starving even – from a dire shortage of humanitarian supplies. What a joke! Many YouTube videos show Gaza markets bursting with fresh produce, meat, candy, clothing and other consumer goods. There is even at least one luxury restaurant, The Roots. Reportedly, there are more Mercedes in Gaza than in Israel. And why not? Israel already supplies many of the basic needs of Gazans, like kids getting an allowance from their parents, leaving them free to focus on doing what they love: making jihad against Israel.

In just the past eighteen months, over one million tons of humanitarian supplies were delivered to the people of Gaza - by Israel. The reason every Gazan is not bursting at the seams from all that largesse, which comes to nearly one ton of aid for every man, woman and child, is that Hamas takes control of the goods. In addition, Gaza pays no taxes, and gets free water and electricity, all thanks to the Israeli tax-payers who must foot the bill to keep the dependants happy. Free medical care and medicine are included too. The medical care is donated even to terrorists, strictly on a needs basis. That means that if a terrorist is close to dying and the Israeli he wounded is not as severely threatened, the terrorist is treated first and the Israeli (who pays for all this with his taxes) must wait. Israeli medicine donated to Gazans is always fresh and usable. However, the phony flotilla 'aid' to Gaza included expired medicine and old, outdated medical equipment, which made them worthless, according to IDF sources who examined the supplies.

What else was the flotilla carrying? Terrorists determined to be martyrs. On the largest vessel, a former cruise ship, one participant declared, "Right now we face one of two happy endings: either martyrdom or reaching Gaza," according to the Turkish media. Even before they set out, the 'peaceful' shahids chanted an Islamic battle cry "(Remember) Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!" The Khaibar war cry refers to the Jewish village defeated by Muhammad's army in 628, marking the elimination of any Jewish presence in Arabia. Clearly the 'peaceniks' were itching for a fight and were even willing to die. Between fifty and one hundred of these men may have been linked to al Qaida, according to the IDF. They were fully equipped for battle, with long knives, axes, metal poles, stun grenades and Molotov cocktails, as well as protective gear, bulletproof vests, masks, and night vision goggles. None of them carried any form of identification, and most of them had thousands of dollars in their pockets. They were a well organized attack unit operating under orders to violently attack the IDF soldiers expected to board, which they did. Al Jezeera was on board, and filmed these assaults. The videos clearly show the terrorists viciously attacking the IDF commandos first, although the Islamist media denies it.

Try finding that kind of coverage elsewhere in the Islamic world!

On the About Us page, we find the following:

Weekly Blitz started its publication in 2003. We are the only anti-Jihadist newspaper in the Muslim world, confronting religious extremism and Jihad thus promoting inter-faith harmony.

Many a times, Weekly Blitz came under attack of religious fanatics and political hoodlums in Bangladesh. In July 2006, our office was bombed by notorious Islamist militancy group named Khelafat Andolan. In October 2006, a groups of thugs belonging to then then party in power attacked our office and physically assaulted members of the newspaper. On March 18, 2008, members of Rapid Action Battalion [RAB] abducted the editor and a members of our newspaper at gun point from the office of Weekly Blitz. Five hours later, they were released. RAB men ransacked our office and looted valuables. Despite several written complaints, Bangladeshi authorities did not return the looted items till date. On February 22, 2009 a group of armed miscreants attacked Weekly Blitz office and physically assaulted our staffs. They looted valuables from the office including Laptop, Digital Voice Recorder etc. Female staffs of our office were humiliated and molested by the thugs, mostly belong to the ruling party.

By now, Weekly Blitz has already turned into the largest circulated periodical in Bangladesh. Number of readers of our online edition is several folds higher than any other Bangladeshi weekly newspaper or periodical.

If they are actually seeking to tell the truth of what is going on in the world, no wonder they have a larger circulation than the rest!

Details on how the paper is being targeted can be found in Islamist conspiracy to kill Weekly Blitz, dated June 5, 2010; I reproduce this in its entirety:

When we started our journey, back in 2003, as one of the periodicals in Bangladesh, no one really had any problems with us. We even were receiving advertisements from the local advertisers. But, during mid 2003, when we started publishing positive articles and editorials on Israel and some other issues, which were almost considered to be taboo in Bangladesh, local advertisers swiftly turned away their faces from us.

Then I was arrested on November 29 2003, at Dhaka International Airport, on my way to Tel Aviv for attending a peace conference. The then Bangladesh Nationalist Party [BNP]-led Islamist government used the state machinery in placing me on remand for 10 days, thus mentally and physically torturing with the 'hope' of extracted a confessional statement. They considered me to be a Zionist Spy.

Later the government sent to an isolated cell at Dhaka Central Jail, where I was detained for 17 months in extreme hit and humidity.

In 2004 [January], the government brought sedition, treason and blasphemy charges against me. According to Bangladeshi law, sedition bears capital punishment.

I was not allowed to attend my mother's funeral when she passed away on August 9, 2004.

At the intervention of Congressman Mark Steven Kirk and relentless effort by Dr. Richard L Benkin [my Jewish brother] as well as Congressional aide Jeff Phillip, I was released on bail on April 30, 2005 from Dhaka Central Jail.

The sedition, treason and blasphemy charge is still hanging on me and every month I have to appear in the court to face trial. Though Bangladesh's present government is renewing its commitment in fighting Islamist militancy, it is reluctant in dropping the charge, fearing reaction from the Islamists.

On my release, Weekly Blitz resumed its publication in 2005 and since then, we never received even a single advertisement in our print edition. Only two or three advertisements were offered by some philanthropists and my supporters with a small amount of money, which is again not enough for Weekly Blitz to sustain for a week. But, still, my profound gratitude and admiration for those kind hearted people, who stood for us, during our difficult days.

From the mid of 2008, Weekly Blitz is again seeing extreme adversities in continuing its publication. In the same year, our office was attacked and we were evicted from our own office, illegally by some politically blessed thugs.

Thanks to Dr. Daniel Pipes and Middle East Forum, for helping us in taking a new office just in May this year. The entire amount received from MEF has already been spent for the new office and furniture.

Sensing our inability and economic adversities in running Weekly Blitz, a business tycoon with heavy affiliation with an Islamist party offered to buy the entire newspaper with an amount equivalent to US$ 300K. They even continued to offer us much higher amount, if we were ready to sell the newspaper. We knew they were planning to buy Weekly Blitz for turning it into a newspaper like all others in the Muslim nation, mostly spreading message of hatred against Israel and Jews. Their intention was to morally kill our newspaper. We did not bow to such dirty desire of the Islamists.

But, now, our very sustainability has become almost impossible. Each month, we are losing huge amount of money in continuing the print and online edition of this newspaper. For any newspaper, it is absolutely impossible to sustain without any advertisement revenue.

Can we expect, some of the philanthropists or organizations, who want this only anti-Jihadist newspaper in the Muslim world to sustain, would kindly help us with advertisements or grants? Such help is so much urgent for us. And, this is for the first time; we are making this appeal to our valued readers through this editorial page.

Please help us! And also refer our appeal to everyone you know. This is such critical time for us. Your actions and help can help us stay alive.

If you can help, here is their contact information:

Eastern Commercial Complex, 3rd Floor, Suite # 3/08, 73 Kakrail, Dhaka -1000, Bangladesh.

Phone: 880-11-91350884, 880-1711-938344, 880-1911-326232


Thanks Erwin Mahnke on Facebook for the tip.

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