Shadman Zaman, a 25-year-old Muslim physician from Bangladesh, dreams of becoming Jewish and has even begun a conversion process. As a Zionist and pro-Israel activist, he became the first citizen from his country to openly enter Israel with a Bangladeshi passport, which explicitly states that it is valid for all the countries in the world except Israel, Ynet News reports.
“I see myself as an ambassador of Israel and of the Jewish people and as someone who fights for Israel and against anti-Semitism,” Zaman says in a J-TV video message
“I come from one of the most anti-Semitic countries in the world,” he tells Ynet. “The citizens of Bangladesh are forbidden to own a Torah scroll, and whoever visits Israel—like me—is likely to be charged with treason and thrown into prison for many years. I have friends who are sitting in jail simply because they wanted to visit Israel. But I’m undeterred because I define myself as a Zionist.”
Zaman recently visited Israel as a guest of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and visited the President’s Residence.
Zaman says in a video message that he was taught to hate Israel, but his grandfather was the first Bangladeshi Zionist. Zaman used to get inspiration from his grandfather to read about Judaism and about the Jewish people.
He says that his grandfather has asked him to visit Israel and he got the Zionist education from smuggled books.
“I believe in the Torah. I’m amazed by the fact that the Jewish people survived all the oppressions they went through, so I decided to become part of them and convert, says Zaman
Zaman’s parents live in Bangladesh and are permitted to meet him only twice a year in Britain,
he says. His dream is for his homeland to establish diplomatic ties with Israel one day, so that he may be able to go back there for a visit.
“Bangladesh can benefit from relations with Israel, just like India,” he says.
Dr. Zaman, who specializes in trauma at a hospital in Britain, recently participated in a conference in London organized by WZO’s Department for Countering Anti-Semitism.
Zaman even stars in a video created by the pro-Israel StandWithUS organization, which has received some 150,000 views.