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?”
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.
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.
Rais Bhuiyan, center, one of three people who was shot by Mark Stroman on the days following Sept. 11 (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Jim Mahoney)
Rais Bhuiyan, a hate crime victim, is fighting to save his attacker, Mark Stroman, from execution on July 20, NPR reports.
Less than two weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, Stroman entered Bhuiyan’s workplace and shot him. The crime was part of a shooting spree, targeting people who appeared to be Muslim or of Middle Eastern descent.
Bhuiyan, the sole survivor, required years of medical attention and several surgeries after the bullet struck the right side of his face.
Bhuiyan turned to his faith and found forgiveness. He created a website to educate people about hate crimes. He is working with Amnesty International and Stroman’s defense attorney to commute the death sentence to life without parole.
“According to my faith in Islam, there is no hate, no killing,” said Bhuiyan. “I strongly believe executing him is not a solution. We will just simply lose a human life without dealing with the root cause, which is hate crime.”
Please call Governor Perry on 512 463 2000, to urge him to grant a stay of execution to Mark.