In Dallas in 2001, Rais Bhuiyan was shot in the face by a white supremacist, revenge for 9/11. He then spent years fighting to save the shooter’s life, and now runs a nonprofit called World Without Hate. He hopes to relocate to Seattle.
Ten days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, a man walked into a Dallas convenience store and held a double-barreled shotgun just inches from Rais Bhuiyan’s face.
Bhuiyan, who had been held up before, opened the register, put all the bills on the counter and asked the man not to shoot him.
“Where are you from?” the man asked, then opened fire.
The pellets felt to Bhuiyan like “millions of bees” stinging his face. He screamed for his mother.
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That would make sense later, since it was she who taught Bhuiyan to survive — and to forgive.
Bhuiyan, now 44, would recover from his injuries and go on to become an IT systems manager in Dallas, and marry an American woman named Jessica Carso.
But he also spent years fighting to save the life of Mark Stroman, the white supremacist who killed two other men before shooting Bhuiyan — crimes he considered revenge for the 9/11 attacks. Stroman was eventually sentenced to death.
Bhuiyan would petition Texas courts and even the U.S. Supreme Court for clemency in an effort to spare Stroman’s life. It was denied.
“By executing him, we would be losing him in life without dealing with the root cause,” he said on a recent visit to Seattle. “Execution was not the solution. It would not eradicate hate crimes from this world. I had to save his life to make a change.”
On the day of his execution, Stroman asked to speak with Bhuiyan on the phone.
“I love you, bro,” he told him.
Said Bhuiyan: “I couldn’t believe it was the same human who shot me in the face 10 years before.”
The experience would spur Bhuiyan to establish a nonprofit called World Without Hate, which…