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Muslim Immigrant Seeks Stay of Execution for His Attacker, a Convicted Anti-Muslim Murderer

18 May 2011 General 3 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

DALLAS, TX – Rais Bhuiyan saw Mark Stroman and his gun in the reflection of the window.

Then came the question a robber wouldn’t ask, Bhuiyan thought. “Where are you from?”

“Excuse me?”

Within seconds, Bhuiyan, a store clerk, fell to the floor of the convenience store on Buckner Boulevard, bleeding profusely from a head wound from the gun blast. It blinded his right eye but miraculously didn’t damage his brain.

Stroman, a white supremacist, would later confess he was out for revenge against those of Middle Eastern descent in Mesquite and Dallas days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Already, Stroman had killed one Pakistani immigrant; two weeks later, he’d kill an Indian immigrant.

Now, Bhuiyan wants to forgive.

He’ll be asking for a stay of the July 20 evening scheduled execution of Stroman, and a stop to the “cycle of violence,” as he calls it.

“Sometimes, we human beings make mistakes out of anger,” said Bhuiyan, 37, in an interview Monday with The Dallas Morning News. Stroman, a former stonecutter, was convicted of the Oct. 4 killing of Vasudev Patel, an Indian of the Hindu faith who owned a gas station and convenience store in Mesquite.

Stroman also confessed to the Sept. 15 Dallas killing of Waqar Hasan, an immigrant from Pakistan and a Muslim, in what is believed to be the first hate crime in the U.S. after the attacks. He was charged in the shooting of Bhuiyan, a Bangledesh immigrant, on Sept. 21.

Bhuiyan said his Islamic faith led him to realize “hate doesn’t bring any good solution to people. At some point we have to break the cycle of violence. It brings more disaster.”

Bhuiyan shows little sign of the shooting. A slim man with thinning hair and large, wide-set brown eyes, he can only see from his left one. He carries about 38 pellet fragments on the right side of his face, he said.

Bhuiyan said the event changed him and he now celebrates Sept. 21 as his new birthday because it was then he got his life back. Bhuiyan has a full-time job in information technology but wants to return to college. Last fall, he contacted Dr. Rick Halperin, the director of the human rights education program at Southern Methodist University.

It was a coincidence that Halperin already knew many details of Bhuiyan’s story. Stroman had been corresponding with the professor, an anti-death-penalty activist, for two years.

Bhuiyan explained how the event had shaped his life, how he grew introspective about his faith and how he found answers to why he lived and others died.

The events, Halperin said, “raise questions about compassion and healing and the nature of justice.”

As for Bhuiyan, Halperin said, “I am amazed at the calm with which some can forgive the unforgivable.”

Hadi Jawad of the Dallas Peace Center said Bhuiyan’s actions serve as a lesson for others at a critical time for the nation and the world.

“With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 coming up, we need a narrative of compassion and healing. The world has gone through so much darkness,” Jawad said.

Halperin said that a stay of execution in favor of a lifetime sentence for Stroman will be difficult, but they are committed to trying. Stroman is scheduled to die by injection at about 6 p.m. in Huntsville, said a public information officer for the Texas Department of Corrections.

Within six months of Sept. 11, there were 1,717 incidents of harassment, violence or discriminatory acts against Muslims, or those perceived to be Muslims, according to the D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Bhuiyan said he still has fears he’ll be attacked again, particularly when he sees men with tattoos. Stroman had many. “I try to ignore them (fears), but I am a human being,” he said.

Bhuiyan is one of eight children, but he has no siblings or relatives in the United States. He and his former fiancée in Bangladesh went separate ways as he coped with his physical and psychological wounds. His parents wanted him to return home, but he “wanted to give it a fight.” And last November, he deepened his roots here by becoming a U.S. citizen.

He has prepared a petition drive for the stay of execution and is about to launch a website.

“You may not like me because of my skin color or because of my accent . . . but don’t hate me. We can educate people.”

Original post: Muslim Immigrant Seeks Stay of Execution for His Attacker, a Convicted Anti-Muslim Murderer

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3 Comments »

  1. Naseerah,

    this strongman guy might be worse than me as well? my point is that the ancient texts of the abrahamic god are all self contradicting and hard to understand. plus they, in many verses, lack the level of humanity i hope we all aspire too. i guess it depends on which verses (or parts of) you choose to emphasis? or the translation?

    [5.45] And We prescribed to them in it that life is for life, and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth, and (that there is) reprisal in wounds; but he who foregoes it, it shall be an expiation for him; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unjust.

    my book mark in the “message of the quran translated and explained by muhammad asad” is right on:

    And We ordained for them in that [Torah]: A life for a life, and eye for an eye, and a nose for a nose, and an ear for an ear, and a tooth for a tooth, and a [similar] retribution for wounds;(61) but he who shall forgo it out of charity will atone thereby for some of his past sins.(62) And they who do not judge in accordance with what God has revealed – they, they are the evildoers! [5:45]

    61. See Exodus xxi, 23 ff., where details of the extremely harsh penalties provided under Mosaic Law are given.
    62. Lit., “it shall be an atonement for him”. The Pentateuch does not contain this call to forgiveness which is brought out with great clarity not only in the Quran but also in the teachings of Jesus, especially in the Serom on the Mount: and this, read in conjunction with the following verses, would seem to be an allusion to the time-bound quality of Mosaic Law. Alternatively, the above admonition may have been part of the original teachings of the Torah which have been subsequently corrupted or delibertly abandoned by its followers, whom the Quran accuses of “distorting the meaning of the revealed words” (see verse 41 above).

    would you say the victim has tattooaphobia? btw i have no tattoos.

  2. only the truly lost need to have compassion explained to them and effectuated through a book. the books you speak of are responsible for legitimizing more perversities against the world and humanity than anything else.

  3. Mark Stroman is a terrible man. Let us not forget however that this kind of behavior is indirectly promoted by those running the USA mainstream media. It is their constant and relentless manipulation of the gullible American public in the hope of securing unconditional support for their nefarious agenda in the Middle-East that helps fuel this kind of hatred. I have sat in New York City public places and heard many say things like “All Muslims should be killed”. Imagine for a moment someone saying something like “All Jews should be killed” in a public space. The response would be explosive.

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