Monday, July 18, 2011

Muslim Hate Crime Victim Begs For Pardon of Texas Man Who Shot Him

From CNN:

Mark Anthony Stroman, the 41-year-old prisoner scheduled to be executed Wednesday for a murder he once said was fueled by "patriotism," but which the state argued was motivated by pure hatred.

The admitted white supremacist was convicted in the deadly shooting of an Indian man, part of a killing spree that began just after the September 11 terror attacks. His target: those he believed were of Middle Eastern background, in revenge and retaliation for the worst domestic terror incident in U.S. history.

Stroman, once part Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang, and is a terrible, terrible person. Though he now claims remorse, his writing's on his personal blog sing a different tune: "This was not a crime of hate but an act of Passion and Patriotism, an act of country and commitment, an act of retribution and recompense. The was not done during Peace time but at War time. I, Mark Anthony Stroman, felt a need to exact some measure of equality and fairness for the thousands of victims of September 11th, 2001, for the United States of America and its people, The People of this Great Country. GOD BLESS AMERICA."

Uggh. <shudder> In a sad, ironic twist, Stroman's only surviving victim is also his greatest supporter. Rais Bhuiyan, a devout Muslim who does not believe in the death penalty, survived Stroman's attack and testified against him.

From Bhuiyan's website:
It was Friday 12:30pm, September 21, 2001. A man with a gun entered the gas station where I was working. He asked me, "Where are you from?"

The question seemed strange to ask during a robbery, which certainly this was -- the man wore a bandana, sunglasses and a baseball cap, and aimed the gun directly at my face as I stood over the gas station register. "Excuse me?" I asked. As soon as I spoke I felt the sensation of a million bees stinging my face, and then heard an explosion. Images of my mother, my father, my siblings and my fiancé appeared before my eyes, and then, a graveyard. I didn't know if I were still alive. I looked down at the floor and saw blood pouring like an open faucet from the side of my head. Frantically, I placed both hands on my face, thinking I had to keep my brains from spilling out. I heard myself screaming, "Mom!" The gunman was still standing there. I thought, "If I don't pretend I'm dead, he'll shoot me again."

The 46-year-old Pakistani was left blind in one eye. Bhuiyan created www.worldwithouthate.org to urge Texas to spare Stroman's life, and wrote an op-ed in the Dallas-Morning News begging for his forgiveness:

"In order to live in a better and peaceful world, we need to break the cycle of hate and violence. I believe forgiveness is the best policy, which helps to break this cycle," he said, calling himself a victim of a hate crime. "I forgave Mark Stroman many years ago. I believe he was ignorant and not capable of distinguishing between right and wrong. Otherwise he wouldn't have done what he did."

Texas disagrees, arguing "that the six children of the men Stroman murdered in cold blood will grow up without their father. The victims also left their wives as widows. Officials cite testimony by fellow inmates of Stroman's continuing dangerousness and his unrepentant racist views, both pre- and post-conviction." Stroman is being sentenced to death for the murder of Vasudev Patel, a clerk at a Mesquite Gas Station. Surveillance tapes showed the suspect waving a .44-caliber chrome-plated pistol at the clerk and demanding, "Open the register or I'll kill you." The 49-year-old Patel tried to reach for his gun hidden under the counter, but Stroman shot the unarmed man in the chest. The killer left without taking any cash. He was arrested the next day. Patel was a Hindu, not Muslim, Arab or Middle Eastern.

"I am sorry to say I made innocent people pay for my rage, anger, grief and loss," said Stroman. "I have destroyed my victims' families as well as my own. Out of pure anger and stupidity I did some things to some men from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia. And now I sit on death row awaiting execution. And by no means am I proud of what I have done."

Stroman is set to be executed on Wednesday.

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