Rais Bhuiyan, 9/11 Hate Crime Victim, Continues Plea For His Shooter's Life

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Rais Bhuiyan's plea
Rais Bhuiyan, the Texas man brutally injured in a post-9/11 shooting spree that killed at least two, is still fighting for the life of his assailant, Mark Anthony Stroman, whose Texas execution is scheduled for tomorrow. On September 21, 2001, Stroman marched into the service station where Bhuiyan was working and asked him, "Where are you from?" before shooting him in the face at close range. Though he survived, Bhuiyan is partially blind in his right eye even after multiple surgeries. A Hindu man named Vasudev Patel and a Muslim man named Waqar Hasan were both killed by Stroman, but Bhuiyan's World Without Hate campaign encourages us "to break the cycle of hate and violence" through "forgiveness." Ahead of Stroman's execution, both men spoke to the New York Times.

Bhuiyan's account of the shooting is both gruesome and moving. "A few minutes before, I had been a young guy in a T-shirt and shorts and tennis shoes," he explains, crying. "Sorry, I haven't cried for the past nine years."

After one day in the hospital -- with 38 pellets in his face -- Bhuiyan was discharged because he didn't have health insurance. "For the next several months, he slept on people's couches and had to rely on physicians' samples for medication, including painkillers and eye drops," the Times reports.

And yet:

I requested a meeting with Mr. Stroman. I'm eagerly awaiting to see him in person and exchange ideas. I would talk about love and compassion. We all make mistakes. He's another human being, like me. Hate the sin, not the sinner. It's very important that I meet him to tell him I feel for him and I strongly believe he should get a second chance. That I never hated the U.S. He could educate a lot of people. Thinking about what is going to happen makes me very emotional. I can't sleep. Once I go to bed I feel there is another person that I know who is in his bed thinking about what is going to happen to him -- that he is going to be tied to a bed and killed. It makes me very emotional and very sad and makes me want to do more.

Stroman is also interviewed, via typewritten letter, and understands the compassion shown by Bhuiyan.

"Not only do I have all My friends and supporters trying to Save my Life, but now i have The Islamic Community Joining in...Spearheaded by one Very Remarkable man Named Rais Bhuiyan, Who is a Survivor of My Hate," Stroman writes. "His deep Islamic Beliefs Have gave him the strength to Forgive the Un-forgiveable...that is truly Inspiring to me, and should be an Example for us all."

Read the rest here.

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]



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