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

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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Floyd Mills
Floyd Mills

In America we war against Islamic extremism as expressed by the Taliban who champion summary execution.  Here comes an unstable American man sickened with hate because his sister was murdered by that Islamic extremism.  He picks up a gun and declares war. Anyone of middle eastern origin becomes his enemy.  He kills two and wounds one, a devout Muslim,  shooting him in the face. 10 years pass.   The devout Muslim recovers and heals.  He forgives the man who has given up his hate and anger and he embraces the man he once hated with love. The devout Muslim asks the American courts not to execute the man. Over the past 10 years every living cell in the convicted man's body has been replaced. His mind has been transformed. His memories of the past have mostly faded.  only the calcium in the bones that support his frame give continuity to the man he is today and the man who pulled the trigger 10 years before.  The devout Islamic man begs the courts:  "I have a plan for this man!  I am going to bring him forward.  I am going to show him that not all Muslims are terrorists.  I am going to show him that I am a human being filled with love. If you take him away from me, who will I show?  What meaning will there be in My life if I cannot bring his life to me?"  Will the American courts hear this?  Can they hear this? 

J Rain
J Rain

Mr. Bhuiyan just gave a video interview on Democracy Now! this morning, talking about how if he could speak to his assailant, he would tell him that he does not hate him...  really a remarkable person.You can check out the link here: http://www.democracynow.org/20...

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