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Rais Bhuiyan

Victim of Post-9/11 Shooting Spree & Peace Activist
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Biography

Rais Bhuiyan has a remarkable story — one that continually inspires people from around the globe to interview him about his campaign, World Without Hate. Bhuiyan’s story took root in Bangladesh and grew from seeds planted by his parents and strong Islamic beliefs in forgiveness. It was shortly after he moved to Dallas to seek career opportunities in computer technology, however, that Bhuiyan would find himself needing to hold on to his strong family and faith-based roots — and later cultivate them — after a life-altering incident in 2001.

Just weeks after the tragic events of 9/11, Bhuiyan was shot in the face by a white supremacist, who at that time called himself “the Arab slayer.” That fateful day would not only lead to Bhuiyan’s journey to rebuild his own life, but also help build a better world. The man who shot Bhuiyan was Mark Stroman, who confessed to shooting Bhuiyan, killing two other South Asian workers and was sentenced to death. Bhuiyan survived, but with the use of only one eye and he still carries 35 shotgun pellets embedded deep within in his face. Many wouldn’t blame him if he were to respond to Stroman’s misguided actions with hate and anger. However, Bhuiyan chose to take the high road, mounting an aggressive campaign to convince Texas authorities to reduce his assailant’s sentence from death to life in prison.

Bhuiyan worked tirelessly to save Stroman’s life with pleas for clemency that in 2011 reached the U.S. Supreme Court and even met multiple times with his attacker to get to know him as a human being. Though Stroman was executed, Bhuiyan continues his World Without Hate campaign to promote healing, compassion and forgiveness.

Anand Giridharadas, author of the accomplished India Calling, is releasing an intriguing new book based on Bhuiyan’s remarkable story and experience, entitled The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas (2014). Academy Award winner Kathryn Bigelow has also picked Bhuiyan’s inspiring story as her next directorial effort, starring Tom Hardy and others.

Bhuiyan’s honorable actions led him to receive major awards, including: the 2011 American of the Year, an Esquire Magazine designation shared with such dignitaries as astronaut Mark Kelly and Apple founder Steve Jobs; and the Excellence for Human Service Award from United for Change, an American nonprofit dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of Muslim issues.

Bhuiyan has delivered his inspiring message not only to journalists, but also to members of the European Union, German Parliament, Amnesty International and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, as well as numerous university audiences, churches, Mosques and social justice groups. His speeches will educate others on the regenerative power of forgiveness and how this concept can be incorporated into anyone’s life.

Topics

A World Without Hate

The Healing & Transforming Power of Forgiveness

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