Could you forgive?

In the days following 9/11, Mark Stroman went on a killing spree targeting individuals he believed to be Muslim or of Middle Eastern descent. Stroman, who had connections with a white supremacist prison gang, killed Waqar Hasan, a Pakistani immigrant, Vasudev Patel, an Indian immigrant and U.S. citizen, and severely wounded Rais Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi immigrant, all in separate acts of hate.

Bhuiyan survived the shooting, and in an amazing display of humanity, is actually advocating against Stroman’s pending execution, which is scheduled for July 20, 2011.

“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,” Bhuiyan says. “In Islam it says that saving one human life is the same as saving the entire mankind. Since I forgave him, all those principles encouraged me to go even further, and stop his execution and save another human life.”

If only Geert Wilders, Terry Jones, and all of the other Islamaphobes of the world could hear this man’s story, they might be hesitant to call Islam a religion of hate and violence. Bhuiyan’s display of forgiveness is a reminder of the futility of stereotypes, and the strength of the human spirit.

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