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News ::
War Criminal, OIC, and the Government of Bangladesh (english)
13 Aug 2003
The Bangladeshi community is alarmed at their government’s decision to nominate Mr. Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a controversial figure and alleged war criminal, for the position of the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
Press Release on Bangladesh’s nominee for Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC)

The following statement was published online and signed by a number of Bangladeshis. The Bangladeshi community is alarmed at their government’s decision to nominate Mr. Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a controversial figure and alleged war criminal, for the position of the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The petition is available online at:



We, the concerned citizens of Bangladesh, express our grave anxiety and deep shock over the nomination of Mr. Salauddin Quader Chowdhury for the position of Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). We call upon the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to immediately withdraw the regrettable nomination of Mr. Chowdhury.

We believe that it is highly inappropriate and deeply irresponsible to nominate Mr. Chowdhury to such a position for a variety of reasons. Mr. Chowdhury is tainted with the widespread allegation that he had supported the Pakistani occupation forces during Bangladesh’s War of National Liberation in 1971. He was active then as an ignominious ally of the invading Pakistani army, which committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and brutal terrorism against the people of Bangladesh.

The Pakistani occupation army and its local collaborators targeted countless unarmed civilians in violation of Geneva Conventions, international law, and morality. They ruthlessly and indiscriminately killed and tortured men, women, children, minorities, intellectuals, students and teachers, writers and artists, artisans and peasants, workers and vendors, and other Bengalis in the name of Islam, presumably to uphold the territorial integrity of Pakistan. The devastating actions of the Pakistan army while making Bangladesh rubble and a big graveyard were sadistically inhumane, barbaric, and genocidal and invited worldwide condemnation. Mr. Chowdhury, it has been widely reputed, actively participated in, or had knowledge of, gruesome activities in and around his native Chittagong district in these wanton acts of murder, torture and in the illegal abductions and arrests of freedom fighters and members of Bangladesh’s minority community, and innocent civilians.

Given Mr. Chowdhury’s questionable antecedents, it is certainly inappropriate, to say the least, for the Government of Bangladesh to nominate him to the position of the Secretary-General of the OIC. Mr.Chowdhury also has an ugly and unenviable reputation of misogyny, calling people names, indulging in hate speech against minorities and is reputed to have sinister connections with criminal and gangster organizations.

At a time when Bangladesh’s people are trying to project a positive image of our country, when we are trying to construct sustainable institutions of democracy and foster a pluralist society based on the principles of tolerance and freedom, when we are trying to accelerate the pace of the nation’s economic growth and progress, and when we want to attract more investment from foreign investors and put to more efficient use our natural and human resources, the authorities should not wreck the reputation of the country by nominating a person like Mr. Chowdhury to a position that requires humane qualities of compassion and generosity, compromise and concession towards noble goals. It ruinously militates against the national interest of the country besides being wildly contrary to all notions of morality. As Bangladeshis we urge our compatriots and fellow- citizens to join us in condemning this nomination and in urging the government immediately to rescind this national infamy.

While we do not like to embarrass the Government of Bangladesh, we feel strongly about this matter. Thus we believe it is our duty also to inform the citizens of member states of the OIC of Dhaka’s malapropos nomination of Mr. Chowdhury an alleged war criminal and terrorist to such an important and internationally eminent position in which he will represent the member states in various international forums. The OIC is critically situated in the affairs of the states concerned and in international relations between the North and the South in which it plays a constructive role via mediation towards dispute resolution, via promoting trade and cooperation, and via providing official development assistance among member states.

Given the current high-voltage propaganda against Muslim-majority and Arab countries, against Muslims, other non-Western religions, and various other ethnic communities living in the West, as evinced in the recent events relating to Iraq, it would be a profound mistake, a morally shameful move, and a strategic failure to have a person of Mr. Chowdhury’s dubious reputation elevated to the position of the Secretary-General of OIC.

We believe that the OIC ought to uphold and practice the principles of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its member states should establish democratic institutions. It would be a disgrace if ill advisedly the OIC took a retrograde step and elected a controversial individual, such as Mr. Chowdhury, to its highest office. We cannot permit this to happen. We will, thus, collectively speak out against this nomination and intend in due course to publish this statement in the leading journals of the member states of OIC and call upon all civil and human rights organizations at home and abroad to resolutely oppose Mr. Chowdhury’s nomination as Secretary General of the OIC.

The complete list of signatories available at:

This petition has been cited in

Background material on Mr. Chowdhury’s alleged role in war crimes is available in an article by Mr. Naeem Mohaiemen, “War Criminal to Head Islamic Conference? Bangladeshis Oppose Chowdhury Nomination,” published by

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