Conflict & Justice

Why a hate crime survivor tried to save the life of his would-be killer

This story is a part of

Global Nation

This story is a part of

Global Nation

Rais thumbnail image 1 (1).jpg

Rais Bhuiyan campaigned against the death penalty for Mark Stroman, a white supremacist who tried to kill him. "In my faith, in Islam, it says that saving a life is like saving the entire mankind," he says.

Credit:

Naiti Gámez / The Secret Life of Muslims

We’ve seen a rise in hate crimes since Donald Trump won the presidency. Muslims are among the victims, with crimes ranging from cruel graffiti to physical attacks. But many Muslim Americans have been here before, in the days following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Player utilities

Listen to the Story.

People like Rais Bhuiyan, from Bangladesh. He survived an attack by a Texas gunman bent on killing Muslims in the days after 9/11.

But his story does not go as expected.

After Mark Stroman, a white supremacist, left Bhuiyan partially blind — part of a violent spree targeting Muslims that left two other men dead — Stroman got the death penalty. But Bhuiyan campaigned to stop the execution. "In my faith, in Islam, it says that saving a life is like saving the entire mankind," he says.

Stroman was executed in 2011, a death that Bhuiyan fought until the end. Another killing won’t stop hate crimes, he says. Or stop Islamophobia. But, Bhuiyan says, fighting ignorance will.

Today, Bhuiyan works as an information technology consulant in Dallas, and also runs a non-profit, World Without Hate.

Bhuiyan's story came to PRI's The World in partnership with “The Secret Life of Muslims," a digital series that presents stories that break hardened narratives about Muslim Americans. Filmmaker Joshua Seftel created the series, which also partnered with Vox.

Here is the short film of Bhuiyan's story. To see more stories from The Secret Life of Muslims head here or check them out on Facebook

Also: His brother was murdered for wearing a turban after 9/11. Here's why he spoke to the killer.