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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05DHAKA290
2005-01-24 10:59:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Dhaka
Cable title:  

SUGGESTED PRESS GUIDANCE - NYT MAGAZINE ARTICLE ON

Tags:   KPAO  PHUM  PTER  ASEC  BG 
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						UNCLAS DHAKA 000290 

SIPDIS

FOR SA/PPD (SSTRYKER)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PHUM PTER ASEC BG
SUBJECT: SUGGESTED PRESS GUIDANCE - NYT MAGAZINE ARTICLE ON
BANGLADESH

UNCLAS DHAKA 000290

SIPDIS

FOR SA/PPD (SSTRYKER)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PHUM PTER ASEC BG
SUBJECT: SUGGESTED PRESS GUIDANCE - NYT MAGAZINE ARTICLE ON
BANGLADESH


1. In the January 23 edition of the New York Times Magazine, an
article on Bangladesh entitled "The Next Islamic Revolution?" is
generating significant local reaction. In the event it is raised
at the noon press briefing or with SA/PB, we suggest the
following guidance:

Q: THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE ARTICLE ON BANGLADESH
SUGGESTS IT IS ON THE VERGE OF BECOMING A RADICAL ISLAMIC
REPUBLIC. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT ASSESSMENT?

A: Our concerns about the actions and the profile of extremist
elements in Bangladesh are well known. We regularly call on the
Bangladesh Government to support human rights, the rule of law,
and to protect all Bangladeshis, including religious minorities,
from extremists.

We remain hopeful about Bangladesh's future. A traditionally
moderate and tolerant country, it has made great strides in its
soci-economic development since independence in 1971.
Bangladeshis have fought hard for the right to vote and to be
governed democraticallyUltimately, however, the future of
Bangladesh hinges on its ability to remain true to these
traditions, to hold free and fair elections, to combat corruption
effectively, to expand economic growth, and to treat all citizens
with equal respect and dignity.



There is a picture accompanying Ms. Griswold's article of an
anti-Ahmadiyya rally last November - it's worth mentioning that
the police maintained the peace at that rally, and blocked
efforts by extremists to capture the Ahmaddiya central
headquarters in downtown Dhaka.



Q: WHO IS BANGLA BHAI? IS HE A SERIOUS THREAT?

A: Bangla Bhai's identity, as well as his current
whereabouts or activities, is unclear. He and his followers have
allegedly been involved in murder and other criminal acts, and
the Bangladesh Government states that it has issued a warrant for
his arrest. We hope that Bangla Bhai, like all alleged
criminals, are brought to justice.

Q: IS IT TRUE THAT YOU PRESSURED THE BANGLADESH GOVERNMENT
TO CLOSE TWO EXTREMIST CAMPS LAST YEAR?

A: We can't comment on diplomatic exchanges, but we have
regularly urged the Bangladesh Government to investigate
allegations of extremist activities in Bangladesh, take
appropriate corrective actions, solve well-publicized crimes with
alleged extremist connections, and to act in a manner consistent
with its support for the global war against terrorism.

Q: DID THE CHITTAGONG ARMS HAUL RESULT FROM AN INDIAN
INTELLIGENCE TIP?

A: You should direct that question to the Indian or
Bangladeshi governments.

THOMAS