9/11 Hate Crime Victim, Founder of World Without Hate, Human Rights Advocate & Peace Activist
Rais Bhuiyan, an American Muslim from Bangladesh, is an extraordinary individual with a powerful story. After serving as an air force pilot in Bangladesh, Rais moved to the United States in 1999 to study computer technology. Ten days after 9/11, Rais was the victim of a horrific hate crime. Shot in the face at point blank range by white supremacist, Mark Stroman, self-described “the Arab slayer,” Rais barely survived. Sadly, two other victims were killed. Stroman was sentenced to death; ten years later, Rais led an international campaign, fighting to save Stroman’s life. Read More >
The Magic of Humanity: Forgiveness, Mercy & Compassion
World Without Hate
Virtual Keynote: World Without Hate
On Forgiveness and Supporting His Attacker's Children
University of Pittsburg Commencement Speech
The Courage to Forgive
No one is born to hate. Hate, as with empathy, must be learned and fostered. As with most learned behaviors, hate can be unlearned as well. We have the capability to turn negatives into positives, weakness into strength, fear into courage, ignorance into wisdom and hatred into love. We have the power to uphold the intentionality of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – that “All Human Beings are Born Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights,” or our Constitution – that all of us are created equal. Picture what our communities and our country might be like if we adhered to our founding principles of life, liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness; that all people deserve to be treated humanely and justly. Black parents wouldn’t have to worry about losing their child in a senseless police shooting. Police officers could perform their duties without fearing for their lives. Places of worship would no longer need security. Catholic nuns wearing their habits and Muslim women wearing hijabs would be respected, instead of feared. Bhuiyan shares how by combating hate, he would no longer have to stay vigilant because of his Muslim identity and the rise of Islamophobia in our country, fearing for his safety, and life every time he leaves home.
Bhuiyan deeply felt that by executing Mark (his shooter), we would simply lose a human life without dealing with the ROOT Cause. Instead of hating him, he saw Mark as a human being like himself, not just a killer. Bhuiyan saw him as a victim too. His faith, upbringing, and the powerful stories of mercy and forgiveness learned in childhood gave him the courage not only to forgive Mark, but also fight to save the life of the man who tried to end is own. Read More >
It moved Bhuiyan profoundly to think that the man who tried to kill him because of the ways in which he was different, learned to see the ways in which they were the same, enough to call him brother. Although retaliation is a natural response, it does not make you feel as good as you think it will. Any harm you inflict or hope to see inflicted against another human being winds up hurting you too. Once you get to know the other, it’s hard for you to hate them. Read Less ^
People can change and grow given the chance. Difficulties can turn into blessings, obstacles into opportunities. No matter how challenged our life is today, there is hope for a better tomorrow, especially when we allow ourselves vulnerability and learning to become more comfortable in our own discomfort. This internal work is not only possible, it is vital. Lives depend on it. Read More >
It is high time to acknowledge the injustices done to our fellow citizens-- Native Americans, African Americans, immigrants, and all who suffer. We must reform the power structures built on racism and intolerance, extinguishing the blatant ignorance and fear that keeps feeding these archaic systems. I am asking all of us to acknowledge the wrongs done and to educate ourselves about the true history of our country and of others around the world. Visit a plantation to witness first-hand the cruel treatment of Africans as slaves; how three generations were forced to live inhumanly, in one small shack. Speak with our Native community members or visit a reservation to see just how poorly they have been living on the land they owned. If you can’t visit, watch documentary films on their plight, it will make you humble and appreciative of who you are and what you have today. Read a variety of books and articles, explore various sites and media channels. Do your due diligence to truly discover truth because we are far overdue in facing the unjust and cruel part of our history. And it is our duty, our collective responsibility to take action and to forgive one another in order to truly break the cycle of hate and violence. We can indeed realize a world without violence, a world without victims, and a world without hate, but only if we work together. Read Less ^
"Everything went great with Rais’ visit. Our venue was packed and the video stream was viewed in 41 rooms across campus! Additionally, our survey feedback was overwhelmingly positive and we felt the event was very successful. Students and faculty, especially those who were unable to attend live, really enjoyed the opportunity to talk with Rais after the speech. Some great comments we received include:
"The event with Rais was wonderful! We had a great turnout and I really felt like he made a big impact on our audience—everyone is telling me today how much they took away from the event. In this way, it’s a good feeling to know that our committee's goals have been met. Rais himself is a great human being. It was a pleasure to get to know him, hear his story, and have him meet our students at Providence College. He was extremely kind and receptive to all our questions. We really appreciated how he took the time and effort to mold his speech to perfectly match the interests/needs of our organization. I also want to thank you for all of your help in the last few months planning this event. You've been extremely helpful and we definitely appreciate everything you've done. We'll definitely use APB for future speakers!"
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