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Boro Bangladeshis toast Rep. Crowley

"I think she's going to be the next Democratic nominee for president," Crowley told the crowd at the Dhaka Club in Woodside Sunday. Behind him was a poster-sized headshot of Clinton put up by a contingent from her campaign."She's done outstanding work as our U.S. senator and we know that she'll make an outstanding and wonderful president of the United States," he said.Some of the Bangladeshis gathered to honor Crowley for his work on their behalf in Congress felt the same way about Clinton. Noting that both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition party in Bangladesh are women, Democratic district leader Mohammad Aminullah said "as Democrats we want to elect a lady president in the United States, also."The Bangladeshi group, World Human Rights & Development, chose to honor Crowley not just as founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Bangladeshi Caucus, but also as the newly elected Queens County Democratic chairman and as a new member of the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees trade and tax policy. He is clearly seen as someone whose political stock is rising.Members of New York's Bangladeshi community hope he can help bring stability to their home country, which has been roiled by charges of corruption and voter fraud that postponed an election scheduled for this month."It is important that these elections do take place sooner rather than later," Crowley said, noting that he has met with diplomats about the issue. "This is the most important election in the history of Bangladesh since the founding of the country in the early 1970s, and if Bangladesh misses this opportunity, we don't know what the future may hold."There were nearly 43,000 Bangladeshi natives in New York City in 2000, according to a population report from the Department of City Planning, from a country of 147 million. More than 26,000 lived in Queens, with the biggest concentrations in Astoria, Woodside, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Jamaica.Bangladeshis in America proudly describe their homeland as a progressive Muslim nation where women's rights are protected and religious minorities live in harmony. Aside from stabilizing the nation's political situation, Bangladeshi-Americans at the event said they were concerned about arsenic that has poisoned some of the nation's water supply and getting duty-free status for Bangladesh's garment-exports, a major force in its economy.Reach reporter John Tozzi by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext. 174.

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