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Hate crime victim to share story at MSU’s Speakers and Issues
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Filed under Public Information on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 by Author: Public Information.

In 2014, The New York Times writer Anand Giridharadas wrote a bestselling thriller, The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, about a Dallas white supremacist rampaging against Muslims after 9/11, killing two men, and shooting a third, a Bangladeshi convenience store clerk, in the face.

The émigré – a former Bangladeshi Air Force pilot – survived the shooting and had numerous surgeries to save his eyesight. He forgave the gunman, even mounting a high profile campaign to save the man from being executed in 2011. The victim also befriended members of the gunman’s equally troubled family.

As unlikely as it sounds, Giridharadas’s book was not fiction. The shooting victim, Rais Bhuiyan, now travels with his nonprofit “World Without Hate” talking to audiences across the country about building “a world without pain.”

Bhuiyan will lecture at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU as part of the Speakers and Issues Series. “I will share my story and talk about how to build a better world, a world without hate,” Bhuiyan said. “There are students today who will be going out into the world, and they need to go out with an open heart and a vision of a world where we can all live together, despite our backgrounds.”

Bhuiyan says that his message is for everyone. “Not just for the people who are like Mark Stroman (the gunman who shot him), but also for people like you and I. Sometimes we get the notion that the problems of the world are not our problems. But when other peoples’ actions affect our lives, then we start thinking that we should have done something.”

Instead of ignoring those people around us who are going through challenges, he said, “We should reach out to them. It may not be your problem at the moment, but it may become your problem tomorrow. Don’t just wait for someone to act. Find whatever way you can reach out to them.”

For example, Bhuiyan said when someone moves into his neighborhood, he reaches out. “We don’t have to talk about religion or native culture; it could be something neutral, something simple just to start the conversation. Once you start talking to them and once they get to know you, it’s hard for them to get to hate you.”

Giridharadas’ book in 2014 made a huge impact on Bhuiyan’s being able to share his story and experiences. At least 12 universities have selected it as a common reader, and Bhuiyan and the author have visited numerous universities, engaging with students and faculty about social issues, what students think about them, and what they can do now and in the future to address those issues.

A full-time IT executive at Sabre Corporation in Dallas, Bhuiyan’s efforts have been recognized by United for Change with the Excellence for Human Service Award and the Search for Common Ground Award from Search for Common Ground in 2011. In addition, he was named one of the 2011 Americans of the Year by Esquire Magazine; and he received the Muslim Public Affairs Council Foundation’s 2014 Human Relations Award.

Bhuiyan will sign copies of the book after his talk. Proceeds go to his nonprofit.

The Speakers and Issues Series is supported by the Libra Foundation, MSU’s Prothro-Yeager College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Wichita Falls Times Record News, KCCU-FM NPR Radio, and KFDX-TV3. Admission is free; donations are welcome. Contact Dr. Greg Giddings at for information.

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