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Rais Bhuiyan, Victim of Post-9/11 Shooting Spree, Pleads To Spare Attacker Mark Stroman’s Life

19 July 2011 Huffington Post 10 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
Rais Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi immigrant, was shot by Mark Stroman, a white supremacist, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Rais Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi immigrant, was shot by Mark Stroman, a white supremacist, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Just weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, a masked man stormed into the Dallas convenience store where Rais Bhuiyan, a Muslim immigrant from Bangladesh, worked as a cashier. He asked where Bhuiyan was from — then shot him in the face at point-blank range before he could reply.

His attacker was Mark Stroman, an avowed white supremacist and methamphetamine addict, who was caught and confessed to the shooting as well as two other attacks on South Asian convenience store workers. Those men died, while Bhuiyan survived, although he was blinded in one eye and still carries 35 shotgun pellets embedded in his face.

In less than 48 hours, Stroman is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the Texas death chamber at Huntsville for the crimes. A last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court for a stay of execution was rejected without comment in June.

But even as the clock runs down on Stroman’s time on death row, an unlikely advocate is trying to spare his life: Bhuiyan, the man he casually shot and left for dead nearly a decade ago.

Over the past several months, Bhuiyan, a devout Muslim, has mounted an aggressive campaign to convince Texas authorities to commute Stroman’s sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He has asked the state board of pardons and paroles to make a positive recommendation for clemency to Gov. Rick Perry, and has asked Texas prison administrators for permission to meet face-to-face with Stroman for a victim-offender reconciliation process.

After those efforts were met with no response from Texas officials, Bhuiyan filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing that his rights as a crime victim to meet with his attacker had been unjustly denied. That lawsuit was moved from state to federal court on Monday and remains unresolved.

In an interview with HuffPost, Bhuiyan said his efforts on behalf of Stroman were motivated by his Muslim faith. The Koran teaches that those who forsake retribution and forgive those who have wronged them become closer to God, he said.

“My faith teaches me that saving a life is like saving the entire human race,” he said.

Bhuiyan is not alone in his efforts to save Stroman’s life. He has support from family members of the other victims, including the widows of the two murdered men, Waqar Husan and Vasudev Patel, he said.

“We decided to forgive him and want to give him a chance to be a better person,” Nadeem Akhtar, Husan’s brother-in-law, said in an interview.

Akhtar said that his sister, Husan’s widow, had written a letter requesting that the Dallas district attorney’s office support the effort to obtain clemency for Stroman. The district attorney’s office declined to support the petition, however.

According to those close to Stroman, the efforts by Bhuiyan on his behalf have contributed to a change of heart in a man who called his crimes “patriotic” before his trial and who prosecutors once described as a cold-blooded killer.

In an interview last week, Stroman told Ilan Ziv, a documentary filmmaker, that he was remorseful for the crimes and was deeply moved by Bhuiyan’s attempts to save his life.

“I received a message that Rais loved me and that is powerful,” said Stroman, who suffered extreme abuse and neglect as a child at the hands of his alcoholic parents, according to court records.

“I want to thank him in person for his inspiring act of compassion. He has forgiven the unforgiveable and I want to tell him that I have a lot of love and respect him,” he added.

Ziv, who met with Stroman for several hours on Monday, said the condemned man had little hope that Bhuiyan’s efforts would succeed in sparing his life.

“He’s very realistic,” Ziv said. “He knows he’s got no chance.”

Stroman’s last bid for a reprieve will come in less than 48 hours, as the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles weighs his petition for clemency or a stay of execution. The board has voted for clemency just once in the last 10 years, a period when the state carried out a record 231 executions. A spokeswoman for Perry’s office said the governor has not expressed an opinion on the petition to the board.

Bhuiyan’s request to meet face-to-face with Stroman before the execution — a meeting that Stroman has enthusiastically agreed to — is also unlikely to occur. Michelle Lyons, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said that both victims and offenders must go through months of counseling and complete other preparatory work before such a meeting can take place.

“There just is not enough time to prepare the victim and the inmate for a meeting,” Lyons said.

Bhuiyan said he would have begun the mediation process long ago, but was not informed of his rights to such a meeting by the Dallas district attorney. That complaint was the basis for his lawsuit attempting to force the state to postpone Stroman’s execution until the mediation meeting could take place; a state judge in Austin ruled Monday that the suit belonged in federal court.

If the suit is dismissed and Stroman’s bid for clemency is denied, the execution will almost certainly go ahead as scheduled at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening.

For Bhuiyan, such an outcome would be a tragedy. “If he’s given a chance, it’s very likely that he can contribute to society,” he said. “If he can educate one person who is full of hate, that is an achievement.”

Yet at least one mind has been changed by Bhuiyan’s outreach — his attacker’s.

“It is due to Rais’ message of forgiveness that I am more content now than I have ever been,” Stroman said in the interview with the documentary filmmaker. “If I don’t make it I want Rais to carry on his work teaching people not to be prejudiced.”

“We need to make sure there is not another Mark Stroman,” he concluded.

Original post: Rais Bhuiyan, Victim of Post-9/11 Shooting Spree, Pleads To Spare Attacker Mark Stroman’s Life

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10 Comments »

  1. and what does this have to do with a muslim proving your bullshit assertions about them wrong?

  2. 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?

  3. okay then let me reiterate my last comment then what the hell does selectively quoting koran verses have anything to do with a muslim forgiving a guy who shot him I guess to you he must be doing forgiveness jihad.

  4. As-salamualikum Brother Rias. I just heard this news very first time tonight’s National (News). I am very impressed to know that you wanted to save the life of someone who want to kill you. My thoughts and prayers will be with you. I wish I could be there in Dallas and participate with you and be a part of saving someone ‘life’, what is precious gift from God.

  5. Mike,
    Regarding the camel urine, it was prescribed as a medicine.

    Stoning to death is for a person who is (MARRIED+CONFESSES TO ADULTERY+WANTS HIMSELF TO BE PUNISHED TO WASH AWAY THE SINS). Stoning is only ordered if all three conditions are met.
    If you as a muslim did commit adultery, but dont want to be punished, it wouldnt be forced on you.
    Noor

  6. According to Guinness Book of World Records, Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion by number of conversions each year: Although the religion began in Arabia, by 2002 80% of all believers in Islam lived outside the Arab world. In the period 1990-2000, approximately 12.5 million more people converted to Islam than to Christianity” (Guinness World Records 2003, pg 102).[29] In 1990, 935 million people were Muslims and this figure had risen to around 1.2 billion by the year 2000, meaning that around this time one in five people were followers of Islam. According to the BBC, a comprehensive American study concluded in 2009 the number stood at 1 in 4 with 60% of Muslims spread all over the Asian continent: A report from an American think-tank has estimated 1.57 billion Muslims populate the world – with 60% in Asia.[30][31] The report was done by the Pew Forum Research Centre.[31] The forum also projected that in 2010 out of the total number of Muslims in the world 62.1% will live in Asia.[30]

    However the report also included a statement saying While the global Muslim population is expected to grow at a faster rate than the non-Muslim population, the Muslim population nevertheless is expected to grow at a slower pace in the next two decades than it did in the previous two decades. From 1990 to 2010, the global Muslim population increased at an average annual rate of 2.2%, compared with the projected rate of 1.5% for the period from 2010 to 2030.[30] The report also made reference to the fact that Muslims are estimated to make up 23.4% of the total global population in 2010 (out of a total of 6.9 billion people) and that by 2030 Muslims will represent about 26.4% of the global population (out of a total of 8.9 billion people).[30]

    According to the Christian Plain Truth Magazine (issue February 2nd 1984), and republished in a readers digest almanac, states that, between 1934 and 1984 Islam grew by 235%, with Christianity second with 46%.

    Projections[40]

    Estimated 2000 Projected 2025 Projected 2050 50 Year Projected Growth 2000-2050
    Religion Adherents % of world Adherents % of world Adherents % of world New Adherents % Growth
    Christianity 1,999,563,838 33.0% 3,016,670,052 33.4% 3,651,564,342 35.3% 1,052,000,504 52.61%
    Islam 1,188,242,789 19.6% 2,184,875,653 26.1% 2,629,281,610 28.0% 1,041,038,821 87.61%

    The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace using the 2000-2005 edition of the World Christian Database, concluded that high birth rates were the reason for the growth in all six; however, the growth of Christianity was also claimed to be attributed to conversions.[12]

    Encyclopædia Britannica

    The following table has been quoted as taken from the 2005 Encyclopædia Britannica.[41] Its figures for percentage growth come from the 1990 to 2000 version of the World Christian Database given above.[41]
    Religion↓ Births↓ Conversions↓ New adherents per year↓ Growth rate↓
    Christianity 22,708,799 2,501,396 25,210,195 1.36%
    Islam 21,723,118 865,558 22,588,676 2.13%
    Hinduism 13,194,111 -660,377 12,533,734 1.69%
    Buddhism 3,530,918 156,609 3,687,527 1.09%
    Sikhism 363,677 28,961 392,638 1.87%
    Judaism 194,962 -70,447 124,515 0.91%
    Baha’i Faith 117,158 26,333 143,491 2.28%
    Confucianism 55,739 -11,434 44,305 0.73%
    Jainism 74,539 -39,588 34,951 0.87%
    Shinto 8,534 -40,527 -31,993 -1.09%
    Taoism 25,397 -155 25,242 1.00%
    Zoroastrianism 45,391 13,080 58,471 2.65%
    Global population 78,860,791 N/A 78,860,791 1.41%

    This table illustrate that, globally, one of the largest factors of absolute increase in number of members is simply population growth. This table also neglects the number of conversions to the “No religion” category.

  7. dear mike i do petty you!,misquating quranic verses and hadiths wont do you good i know your heart is full of hate towards islam,sually Allah guides those he wills!

  8. strange. are they erasing my comments?

  9. noor,

    i posted other things here but they have disappeared for some reason. anyways here’s another hadith.

    http://www.faithinallah.org/sahih-bukhari-book-82-punishment-of-disbelievers-at-war-with-allah-and-his-apostle/

    Volume 8, Book 82, Number 816:

    Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

    ‘Umar said, “I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, “We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book,” and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession.” Sufyan added, “I have memorized this narration in this way.” ‘Umar added, “Surely Allah’s Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him.”

    The first is obvious, the brutality. The second is that the Koran was first dictated to companions of the prophet to be transcribed later.

    Second source http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/muslim/017.smt.html

    Book 017, Number 4194:

    ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas reported that ‘Umar b. Khattab sat on the pulpit of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Verily Allah sent Muhammad (may peace be upon him) with truth and He sent down the Book upon him, and the verse of stoning was included in what was sent down to him. We recited it, retained it in our memory and understood it. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) awarded the punishment of stoning to death (to the married adulterer and adulteress) and, after him, we also awarded the punishment of stoning, I am afraid that with the lapse of time, the people (may forget it) and may say: We do not find the punishment of stoning in the Book of Allah, and thus go astray by abandoning this duty prescribed by Allah. Stoning is a duty laid down in Allah’s Book for married men and women who commit adultery when proof is established, or it there is pregnancy, or a confession.

    richard,

    what sources do you advise i refere to? you don’t find the university of michigan, the university of southern california or defendtheprophet.com as credible? i don’t think my “heart is full of hate towards islam”? i just don’t want to be stoned to death or flogged 100 times. i think these are barbaric and unconstitutional and unethical practices and wouldn’t be sanctioned by god. i also don’t believe god would have let slavery stand as a social institution. that is why i no longer beleive jesus to be the son of god. i guess in your book i hate christians too.

  10. noor,

    i posted other things here but they have disappeared for some reason. anyways here’s another hadith. crazy as it may sound the only think i can come up with is thar islamophobia has had a falling out with defend the phrophet. can you do me a favor and try to post a link or cut and paste a hadith from defend the phrophet’s website. anyways
    http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/muslim/017.smt.html

    Book 017, Number 4194:

    ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas reported that ‘Umar b. Khattab sat on the pulpit of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Verily Allah sent Muhammad (may peace be upon him) with truth and He sent down the Book upon him, and the verse of stoning was included in what was sent down to him. We recited it, retained it in our memory and understood it. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) awarded the punishment of stoning to death (to the married adulterer and adulteress) and, after him, we also awarded the punishment of stoning, I am afraid that with the lapse of time, the people (may forget it) and may say: We do not find the punishment of stoning in the Book of Allah, and thus go astray by abandoning this duty prescribed by Allah. Stoning is a duty laid down in Allah’s Book for married men and women who commit adultery when proof is established, or it there is pregnancy, or a confession.

    richard,

    what sources do you advise i refere to? you don’t find the university of michigan, the university of southern california or defend the prophet as credible? i don’t think my “heart is full of hate towards islam”? i just don’t want to be stoned to death or flogged 100 times. i think these are barbaric and unconstitutional and unethical practices and wouldn’t be sanctioned by god. i also don’t believe god would have let slavery stand as a social institution. that is why i no longer beleive jesus to be the son of god. i guess in your book i hate christians too.

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