the face of forgiveness

This is a powerful New York Times interview with Rais Bhuiyan, one of three people who were shot by Texas gunman Mark Stroman in a hate crime attack shortly after September 11, 2001. He survived the shooting, but what happened afterward is what's truly incredible: The Hated and the Hater, Both Touched by Crime.

Stroman killed Vasudev Patel, an Indian immigrant who was Hindu, and Waqar Hasan, a Muslim born in Pakistan. Bhuiyan survived after being shot in the face at close range, but was partly blinded in his right eye. You wouldn't blame him for wanting Stroman to burn for his crimes, but he is actually trying to persuade the state of Texas to spare Stroman, who is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday:
Q Mr. Stroman has admitted trying to kill you. Why are you trying to save his life?

A I was raised very well by my parents and teachers. They raised me with good morals and strong faith. They taught me to put yourself in others' shoes. Even if they hurt you, don't take revenge. Forgive them. Move on. It will bring something good to you and them. My Islamic faith teaches me this too. He said he did this as an act of war and a lot of Americans wanted to do it but he had the courage to do it - to shoot Muslims. After it happened I was just simply struggling to survive in this country. I decided that forgiveness was not enough. That what he did was out of ignorance. I decided I had to do something to save this person's life. That killing someone in Dallas is not an answer for what happened on Sept. 11.
Could you forgive the man who shot you in the face? The man who tried to kill you for giving the wrong response to "Where are you from?" Reading Bhuiyan's horrifying account of how he was shot and his painful recovery makes it even more astounding that he can now turn to Stroman with love and compassion. That's conviction I can only wonder if I could summon in the same situation. Respect.

UPDATE: Mark Stroman was executed as scheduled last night in Texas. Thanks to Rais Bhuiyan's efforts, he apparently died a changed man: Post-9/11 'Arab Slayer' Mark Stroman's Last Words Offer Message Of Peace.

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