In Smith Auditorium on October 11, 2017 Sinclair hosted Rais Bhuiyan, a hate crime survivor, to speak about how being shot in the head because of hate has changed his life.
Just ten days after 9/11, a white supremacist named Mark Stroman shot three people in Dallas whom he believed were Muslim. Bhuiyan was one of these three people. Two of the victims were killed, and Bhuiyan was the only survivor. He was shot in the face with a sawed off shotgun at point-blank range. Bhuiyan then spent time in a coma, and when he woke up doctors notified him that he was left blind in one eye and had suffered no brain damage.
“My eyes were filled with tears, not because I was sad, but because I was glad to be here,” said Bhuiyan.
The gunman had received the death penalty. Since this experience, Bhuiyan has not only forgiven Stroman but even made efforts to free him from death row.
“By killing him all the hate would not be gone from the world,” said Bhuiyan.
While he was unsuccessful in that regard, his efforts were turned into the international campaign he leads now, called “World Without Hate.”
“World Without Hate” is a non-profit organization created by Bhuiyan, with the hope being that he will stop future“Mark Stroman’s” from leading a life filled with ignorance, violence and hate. Bhuiyan is a public speaker who speaks at conferences, summits, schools and universities all around the world.
He now travels and speaks his story to thousands of people, and his message is to create a “world without hate.” He identifies as a citizen of the world, and hopes to inspire people to forgive through telling his story.
He speaks of topics like empathy and believes that if people tried to understand one another, the cycle of hate could stop. He campaigns forgiveness and he said one of the ways he was able to forgive Stroman was to see him as a human being.
Bhuiyan was an immigrant, and was an officer in the Bangladeshi air force. He had traveled to the U.S. to seek a job in the IT career field. After this incident he did not have much, but he wanted to succeed and do something good with his life. He felt like he had survived for a reason and wanted to get his message of love, empathy and forgiveness into the world. He began to travel and speak his story anywhere he could.
“Giving up was not an option for me,” said Bhuiyan.
He wants the world to focus on how to prevent future situations like this. He says forgiveness will help heal the wounds of both parties and without forgiveness, the cycle will never break.
“Hate and ignorance is the enemy,” said Bhuiyan.
There is a book published about his story called “The True American” that pleads that instead of seeking revenge on an enemy, they should instead be offered mercy and forgiveness. The audience offered Bhuiyan a standing ovation for sharing his story.
Bhuiyan’s mission statement as seen on his website is this: “We are responsible for one another; we must learn to respect, understand and accept if we want to bring about the world we all deserve – a world without violence, a world without victims and a World Without Hate.”