SHOAIB CHOUDHURY: SAINT OR SINNER
Who do you trust? Who can you trust? Is that person you’ve just met really who he says he is? Perhaps not. Most of us are politely cautious. We know that there are some who need to embellish their lives (or cover them). They rewrite their narrative. That’s why we have organizations exposing fake War Vets and prosecuting ‘doctors with no degrees.
That’s why we ask “Who is Shoaib Choudhury? Who is he really?”
Information has been sent to TSM by those who report that have been victims of Choudhury’s fraud.
They say, “Mr. Choudhury may be just an opportunist scam artist or he may be an Islamist agent posing as a friend of the West to get money to give to Islamist organizations. “
The Islamist hypothesis will be explored further down in this post.
First some background on Shoaib Choudhury.
“Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury has made a name for himself for himself as a peace activist and an advocate for Jews and Israel. His 2003 attempt to visit Israel broke a law of his native Bangladesh, resulting in a prison term – and he consequently developed a large following of supporters who saw him as a hero.”
In 2008, writer, Brenda West, introduced TSM to Shoaib in this passionate plea.
An excerpt from Brenda West: “Choudhury had a chance to leave this nightmare behind him when he visited America and Europe to accept several awards for his outspoken journalism. Numerous Western countries offered him asylum, including the United States. He could have taken his family and remained abroad. But he chose to go back to Bangledesh, knowing he could be charged again, as he in fact was in October 2006, and that the trial would not be done according to standard rules of fairness. For example, his lawyer may not call any witnesses for his defense. Choudhury’s explanation for returning to the country that is persecuting him is, “Let the radicals leave. This is my country.” As he sees it, he needs to set an example of courage for the many other Muslims who share his sentiments, and for that he must return, even though he runs the risk of being hanged. Muslim dissidents are watching his case anxiously to see if international support will make it possible for then to remain in their native countries. I have become acquainted with Soaib Choudhury through a series of email conversations. His mission of living for a higher purpose – and perhaps even dying for it – comes across palpably yet with an amazing absence of anger or fear. He radiates good cheer, a kind and sensitive nature, and devotion to his country.”
TSM: After this , we were part of a small group that had the opportunity to meet with Shoaib while he was in NYC. This was in (2009)?? A pleasant man. We all looked forward to meeting with him and as journos to ask him some polite, but probing questions. However, the situation became complicated by some in this intimate group feeling overly protective of Shoaib regarding the most pressing of all of our questions, “Having professed his support of Israel and the Jews, how can he remain a Muslim?” Reading the Koran as so many of us had, we felt that Zionism and Islam were incompatible. Oddly, for us, Shoaib expressed his belief that remaining Muslim made his mission for peace more possible. He’s certainly not alone in that belief yet, some of us found fault with that position and wished explore what seemed to be incongruities.
Flash Forward to 2011.
TSM continues: We haven’t given Shoaib Choudhury much thought since then. His safety as a journalist and publisher in Bangladesh is not a current item news-wise. It seemed to have been resolved. Perhaps he was succeeding in some small way. Sadly, we’ve been made aware of some very serious accusations regarding Shoib and we understand a legal case of fraud against Shoaib Choudhury is pending.
So why do we revisit the man before charges are filed? Perhaps to remind us all that there are opportunists on all sides who prey upon our desire to help, to ‘do-good’ , and too often these people are often a mystery. Yet, so much of the ‘who and what’ of Shoaib Choudhury is in print. But, who wrote the copy? The author? Is the author who they claim to be? Who supports them? Is the trail of supporters a ponzi-scheme of “we know this person and can vouch for him’ when in fact, it’s a trust built on the good-will of people who know each other, not the opportunist.
With that in mind, we present the warnings and concerns of those who have written to TSM that they’ve been defrauded by Shoaib Choudhury. Formal charges are not yet filed. The case while soon be pending.
The following is a statement from one of the individuals who contacted TSM with background and charges.
“First he was an Islamist and then we was an anti-Islamist. Overnight.”
Continuing now from the opening statement, “Mr. Choudhury may be just an opportunist scam artist or he may be an Islamist agent posing as a friend of the West to get money to give to Islamist organizations. I will explore the Islamist hypothesis.”
From a Bangladeshi blogger (posted in 2007), “Mr. Choudhury was the managing director of Inqilab Television, a private television venture run by the leading Islamist party in Bangladesh, the Jamaat-e-Islami .
Mr. Choudhury was also (from 2001 to 2002) a correspondent for the Daily Inqilab, the mouth-piece of Jamaat-e-Islami and published by (until his death last year) well-known war criminal and leading Islamist Maulana Abdul Mannan.
(Mannan issued numerous statements in favour of the genocide committed by the Pakistan army. He was a well-known collaborator of the genocidal force.)
Yes, Mr. Choudhury was an Islamist. Mr. Choudhury was an Islamist before he re-invented himself, almost overnight, as an anti-Islamist.
He worked for a frankly Islamist media center called Inquilab.
His boss was Aziz Mohammed Bhai, known as a Mafia type criminal and the architect of the mass murders of Bangladeshi intellectuals who fought for the independence of their country from Islamist Pakistan.”
More about Mr.Choudhury’s stay at Inquilab can be found in this important blog post (from 2009) including hurling an anti-Semitic insult at someone he was angry with.
The writer says, “Like a meteorite, he rose to the limelight of world’s attention. In the global arena, he became the defender of freedom and human rights and a vocal champion of Bangladesh’s rapprochement with Israel.(snip)
While at Inquilab, Salah Uddin was sent to Singapore to purchase major equipments for Inquilab Television. Instead of purchasing the tools he pocketed the money. Sources say, after the management found out the grand theft, they were starting to take legal measures. (snip)
How Salah Uddin continues to fool a sizable portion of world’s influential people, is still a puzzle to me. His career in Bangladesh shows his checkered past. If you look into his resume, you will see his service for two notorious individuals.”
That Maulana Abdul Mannan, one of his bosses, was as bad as stated above is corroborated in this NY Times story from March 2011.
The Bangladesh writer goes on to state, from the docstrangelove article,
“Shoib was arrested in July 17, 1999 on charge of sending e-mail to the then prime minister Sheikh Hasina, her family members and some influential ministers threatening their lives. Charges were pressed against him on May 3 in 2000 and he was jailed for six months.
Police said Shoib used to introduce himself as an ultra Islamist. He was engaged in defrauding people. He often took money from foreign visa seekers.”
TSM: The amount of material exposing the probable fraudulent nature of Shoaib Choudhury is bordering on tedium.
The accusations are many: “Mr. Choudhury was used to doing jail time. It was not a new experience for him to do time …. he worked for a man with a gangster reputation and is himself alleged to have pulled gangster-type scams earlier on. His actual education as a journalist is unclear. He told one of those whom Shoaib victimized, that he received a Master’s degree in journalism from the London School of Economics in 1989. However, the administration responding to an email request for information, that they had no media programs at that time.
Purported statements from Mr. Choudhury, when asked how he could work for such people as the Islamists. He said. “The economy was bad and he simply needed a job.” This outfit was serious about their politics and they would have thoroughly vetted anyone who applied for a job. Why would they employ someone not in sympathy with their hardcore Islamist position? And, if the economy were really that bad, there would have been plenty of applicants. Only the most dedicated and trustworthy applicant would have been accepted.”
Mr. Choudhury’s financial needs ( or not) : Shoaib holds out that he’s not interested in money and never asks for it, yet there are reports that Choudhury was found with a ‘project profile seeking a fund of TK 12 crore from Jews in Israel,’ or US$170,000 when he was arrested for trying to go to Israel. The December 2003 Israeli news report also states, “Shoib used to introduce himself as an ultra Islamist. He was engaged in defrauding people. He often took money from foreign visa seekers.” (this was a news item first reported in a Bangladeshi paper)
The Claimant continues, “Fund-seeking as a motive was dropped from subsequent stories about the Bangladesh journalist once he came to be seen as an uncontested hero. And he himself boasted of not ‘holding out his hand for money’ yet apparently he has been doing that from the beginning of his career as an ‘anti-Islamist’ Whatever his other motives, Mr. Choudhury went to Israel looking for money.
In 2011, those who are pursuing legal recourse due to Choudhury’s fraud proved over and over that he’s been inconsistant ( at best) or is simply a liar due to his conflicting documented statements.
Example: In March, 2010 Choudhury expressed that he was sure he would never be taken into custody again by the Bangladesh court system. Yet in the fall of 2011 he sent around an email blast saying he had a court date coming up and this time he could not only be taken prisoner but executed.”
Mr. Choudhury’s Politics?
What are Choudhury’s political views? He has published more than one article that was strongly anti-American. He even published an article promoting the totalitarian government of China. When asked why, he said, “It was a paid commercial, such as the NY Times runs.” But it was not identified as such. Yet, in Bangladesh, to support a Maoist government is to ally oneself with Islamists, as is apparent in this related article
This next article, by a Bangladeshi writer, presents several cogent arguments for believing that Mr. Choudhury is working for Islamists.
Mr. Choudhury has created fictitious and provocative characters who not only plagiarize but are used to express his Islamist point of views.
“Through one of his fictitious identities, “Sunita Paul“, Mr. Choudhury expressed sympathy for the generals who murdered so many of the Bangladesh patriots; those who opposed being dominated by Pakistan and its stricter form of Islam.
According to a Bangladeshi writer there’s concern that Choudhury, by helping to agitate the political climate in the very fragile Bangladeshi government, may very well be helping the well organized Islamists to take over.
Quite similar to what is happening in Egypt and possibly in Libya, even now”
Our informant concludes, “The writer at the shadakalo blogspot (it means black and white) put forth a theory worth considering. He thinks Mr. Choudhury is an Islamist who assumes a cover of being for Jews and Westerners in order to take their money, which he then diverts to Islamist causes. The ultimate irony, I suppose.”
And now, September 24, 2011, we ask again:
“Who is Shoaib Choudhury? Who is he really?”
An activist in need of support? Or a fraudster?
There are reports that Shoaib Choudhury has swindled at least two of his female supporters out of large sums of money. He is alleged to have told these supporters about a business in which they could invest but as it turned out, the business didn’t exist.
He claimed to need financial help maintaining his Bengali printing press. However, his stories are contradictory.
He told one woman he would have to sell the press, which he owned, to an Islamist who had wanted to buy it for a long time. He told the other woman he needed money to buy it in installments.
What his is status with the printing press? This remains unclear at this point.
On his blog, Mr. Choudhury claims to be a representative for a company called Noca but Noca has an extensive list of representatives across the world and Mr. Choudhury is not one of them, nor is anybody in Bangladesh.
Further, Noca seems very shady itself. It does not list who its owners or key staff members are. It says it’s in Canada but the prefix for its phone number is in Nevada. A call to that number resulted in a recording from their telephone service, not from them, saying they were unavailable. The representatives they do list could be of interest
” There is a section of opportunists sitting in the West taking political refuge while pretending to be anti-Jihadists while actually running a mere corporate-type business. They scare the unsuspecting with self-made stories, extracting funds that instead of being donated by the millions of dollars to the needy, go into the pockets of these fraudsters. Instead of motivating people in their Muslim nations to work against Jihad or combating the rise of Islamist militancy they use these monies to buy their own luxury. Sitting comfortably in a Muslim country they use websites maintained by “so-called anti-Jihadist asylum seekers” as a promotional tool to popularize their own faces thus bringing in even more donations to their self-promoting business ventures.
While it’s not known just what is going on with Noca and Jethro Conglomerates, there are obvious irregularities. We know that Mr. Choudhury had strong Islamist connections before he became an anti-Islamist.
We also know that Islamist and terrorist organizations are often funded by shady business practices. For these reasons, it has been suggested that Mr. Choudhury and these businesses be looked at by law enforcement on the grounds of possibly funding terrorism.
The police have begun an investigation. The current charge against him is Grand Larceny via Fraud. Other aspects of Choudhury’s behavior are being looked into.”