Live Facebook Chat With 9/11 Hate-Crime Victim On The Death Penalty

Rais Bhuiyan

Update: Thanks to everyone who participated in our Facebook chat! If you weren’t able to make it, the transcript of the chat is now available.

Just ten days after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Mark Stroman went on a shooting spree in Dallas, Texas targeting anyone who appeared to be Middle Eastern.

In the end, two men were left dead and a third man named Rais Bhuiyan would live to fight back.

For one of the two murders, the state of Texas sentenced Stroman to death. His execution date is next month on July 20.

But there’s a catch: Rais is now fighting to save the life of Mark Stroman — the man who tried to kill him. Rais’ message:

“I strongly believe executing him is not a solution. We will just simply lose a human life without dealing with the root cause, which is hate…”

Rais Bhuiyan will be joining us on Facebook to answer your questions on his mission to stop the cycle of killing.

Brian Evans, Amnesty’s Death Penalty Abolition Campaigner will also be participating to answer your questions about capital punishment in the US and beyond.

To Join The Online Chat
To join the chat go to Facebook on June 28th from 1:00-2:00 PM EST and visit the Amnesty International USA Facebook page. After ‘liking’ us, post your questions directly to our “Wall.”  RSVP to this event on Facebook.

Please also consider helping Rais Bhuiyan and us stop the cycle of violence by signing the online petition to stop the execution of Mark Stroman.

Chat Rules

  • Please keep your questions on topic.  We welcome all questions relating to the death penalty and will try to answer them as they are received.
  • Unrelated questions will be removed from our Wall feed for the duration of the chat.  Thanks for your understanding.
  • Please abide by our Community Guidelines

We look forward to answering your questions about this important issue.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

15 thoughts on “Live Facebook Chat With 9/11 Hate-Crime Victim On The Death Penalty

  1. Forget the moral aspect–Think of the facts; killing a killer is stupid, costly, and subject to error. Hard and public time would be a better deterrent, and cost less.

  2. Forget the moral aspect–Think of the facts; killing a killer is stupid, costly, and subject to error. Hard and public time would be a better deterrent, and cost less.

  3. Lets look into more community based action like Restorative Justice, to repair the harm rather than causing more harm.

  4. Lets look into more community based action like Restorative Justice, to repair the harm rather than causing more harm.

  5. Darkness on darkness does not create light. Only bringing light to darkness changes the situation. Restorative Justice is an excellent answer. The Death Penalty is costly, and is no answer at all. Well done to Rais for his courageous stand. And may Mark Stroman come to understand the enormity and horror of his act, and through prayer find peace in life too, albeit in prison.

  6. Darkness on darkness does not create light. Only bringing light to darkness changes the situation. Restorative Justice is an excellent answer. The Death Penalty is costly, and is no answer at all. Well done to Rais for his courageous stand. And may Mark Stroman come to understand the enormity and horror of his act, and through prayer find peace in life too, albeit in prison.

  7. The other side of the story:

    Waqar Hasan was a Pakistani immigrant who left the chaos of Karachi in the early 1990s in search of what he called “a civilized society.” He’d found no such thing in Karachi, where his father and brother had been kidnapped for ransom, and he himself had been robbed at gunpoint, losing his car in the process. Frustrated by the anarchy around him, he left Karachi for the suburb of Milltown, N.J., about fifteen miles southwest of New York—first establishing himself there, and then bringing over his wife Durreshawar (now 37), and his four daughters, Nida (now 18), Asna (17), Anum (15), and Iqra (12).

    Arriving in the US with a work permit, Hasan set up a string of gas stations in the area, while his wife and daughters settled comfortably into life in the Jersey suburbs. By the fall of 2001, he’d decided to move from Milltown to Pleasant Grove, TX, a suburb of Dallas, setting up a series of convenience stores there. The rest of the family, still in Milltown, had planned to follow him after he’d settled in their new home. But it wasn’t to happen that way.

    On September 15, 2001—the Friday just after 9/11—a stoneworker named Mark Anthony Stroman, then 31, walked into Waqar Hasan’s store in Dallas (“Mom’s Grocery”), and ordered two hamburgers. Hasan, perhaps too eager to oblige his customer, stepped out from behind the bullet-proof partition separating him from the rest of the store, and walked to the hamburger grill to make the hamburgers. Seizing his opportunity, Stroman pulled out a .380 caliber handgun and shot Waqar Hasan in the face, killing him. Hasan was later found face-down next to his hamburger grill—a hamburger bun in one hand, rubber sandals still on his feet. He was 46.

    In the weeks that followed, Stroman—a white supremacist with a long criminal record—went on a shooting spree, killing Vasudev Patel, an Indian gas station owner, and blinding Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi store owner. Stroman was eventually arrested for Patel’s murder, after which he confessed on television to the other two shootings, describing all three as vengeance for 9/11. The shootings, as he put it, were a matter of doing “what every American wanted to do,” but “didn’t have the nerve” to do. “I did it to retaliate on local Arab Americans or whatever you want to call them,” he explains. He was found guilty of Patel’s murder last spring, and sentenced to death. He currently awaits execution in Texas on death row.

    Irfan Khawaja is adjunct professor of philosophy at The College of New Jersey.

    It would be heartache enough to lose a loving husband and father like Waqar Hasan—worse to lose him violently, and worse still to lose him to the likes of Mark Stroman. But the heartache in this case may not end there, because Durreshawar and her daughters now face deportation. Though Waqar had applied for green cards for his family before he was murdered, his application died with his murder, as such things do. Since Durreshahwar’s and the girls’ immigration status was tied to Waqar’s, they now have no independent way of applying for a green card, and no legal means of staying in the country.

  8. : Killer of gas clerk gets death penalty
    : Family of victim in Sept. 11 retaliation is happy with sentence

    : 04/05/2002

    : By TIM WYATT / The Dallas Morning News

    : A Dallas County jury handed the death penalty Thursday to a Dallas man who claimed that a series of shootings last fall that killed two immigrants and maimed another were retaliation for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    : Mark Anthony Stroman, 33, received the death sentence after three days of trial testimony and less than four hours of jury deliberations for the Oct. 4 robbery and slaying of Vasudev Patel, a 49-year-old gas station attendant in Mesquite.

    : As state District Judge Henry Wade Jr. read the verdict, Mr. Stroman nodded his head and then said: "Thank you, sir." He waved briefly at family members while being led out of the courtroom.

    : Mr. Stroman also is charged with two Dallas shootings that killed convenience store owner Waqar Hasan, 46, on Sept. 15, and blinded Rais Bhuiyan in one eye at a Pleasant Grove gas station a week later. Mr. Stroman was not on trial in the September shootings but confessed to all three after his Oct. 5 arrest by Mesquite police.

    : The widows of Mr. Patel and Mr. Hasan left the court without commenting. A family member, John Patel, said that his family was "very happy with the verdict" and that the brutality of the killings called for the death penalty.

    : Teressa Talamantez said her brother-in-law "didn't do right" by attacking the three men, "but now [Mr. Stroman's] children are victims of this."

    : "It's just more sadness," Ms. Talamantez said. "American justice failed again. It's just not right."

    : Prosecutor Greg Davis said the attacks were committed out of "pure hatred" that claimed two lives and devastated victims' families.

    : Mr. Stroman "attempted to say he was a patriot," Mr. Davis said. "He was anything but a patriot. What he is, is just a common vigilante."

    : 'Chaotic mind'

    :
    : Defense attorney Jim Oatman had no comment after the verdict, but during closing arguments he told jurors that until the World Trade Center attack his client only talked of being a white separatist. After Sept. 11, he said, Mr. Stroman's actions turned violent for what his "chaotic mind" twisted into a patriotic act.
    : "He thought he was being a hero," Mr. Oatman argued. "He thought that America would praise him and pin a medal on his chest."

    : The prosecution vehemently disagreed.

    : "If there are any true Americans here, it's these people," he said, pointing to the family members of Mr. Stroman's victims seated in the gallery. "Not this man."

    : Mr. Hasan, a Pakistani immigrant and father of four, moved to Dallas last year from New Jersey to open a convenience store in Pleasant Grove. He was shot once in the head while working behind the grill of Mom's Grocery, but no money was taken from an open cash register.

    : Mr. Bhuiyan emigrated from Bangladesh in 1999. He worked at a Texaco station in Far East Dallas, where he was blinded in one eye by a single blast by Mr. Stroman from a .410-gauge derringer. He testified Wednesday that Mr. Stroman shot him in the face and walked out without taking money from an open register.

    : Mr. Patel was a naturalized U.S. citizen who worked 18-hour days at the Shell station on Big Town Boulevard to support his wife and two children. Mr. Stroman shot him in the chest with a .44-caliber revolver.

  9. Conclusion:

    Why should the tax payers have to be punished for Mark's crimes. As you can see by the two articals, Mark has a long criminal record predating 9/11.
    If you go to his blog, you will see it's all about poor Mark and the way he is being treated. He has caused all this pain and I'm not talking about his self inflicted pain, he is no better than the 9/11 terrorists.

  10. The other side of the story:

    Waqar Hasan was a Pakistani immigrant who left the chaos of Karachi in the early 1990s in search of what he called “a civilized society.” He’d found no such thing in Karachi, where his father and brother had been kidnapped for ransom, and he himself had been robbed at gunpoint, losing his car in the process. Frustrated by the anarchy around him, he left Karachi for the suburb of Milltown, N.J., about fifteen miles southwest of New York—first establishing himself there, and then bringing over his wife Durreshawar (now 37), and his four daughters, Nida (now 18), Asna (17), Anum (15), and Iqra (12).

    Arriving in the US with a work permit, Hasan set up a string of gas stations in the area, while his wife and daughters settled comfortably into life in the Jersey suburbs. By the fall of 2001, he’d decided to move from Milltown to Pleasant Grove, TX, a suburb of Dallas, setting up a series of convenience stores there. The rest of the family, still in Milltown, had planned to follow him after he’d settled in their new home. But it wasn’t to happen that way.

    On September 15, 2001—the Friday just after 9/11—a stoneworker named Mark Anthony Stroman, then 31, walked into Waqar Hasan’s store in Dallas (“Mom’s Grocery”), and ordered two hamburgers. Hasan, perhaps too eager to oblige his customer, stepped out from behind the bullet-proof partition separating him from the rest of the store, and walked to the hamburger grill to make the hamburgers. Seizing his opportunity, Stroman pulled out a .380 caliber handgun and shot Waqar Hasan in the face, killing him. Hasan was later found face-down next to his hamburger grill—a hamburger bun in one hand, rubber sandals still on his feet. He was 46.

    In the weeks that followed, Stroman—a white supremacist with a long criminal record—went on a shooting spree, killing Vasudev Patel, an Indian gas station owner, and blinding Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi store owner. Stroman was eventually arrested for Patel’s murder, after which he confessed on television to the other two shootings, describing all three as vengeance for 9/11. The shootings, as he put it, were a matter of doing “what every American wanted to do,” but “didn’t have the nerve” to do. “I did it to retaliate on local Arab Americans or whatever you want to call them,” he explains. He was found guilty of Patel’s murder last spring, and sentenced to death. He currently awaits execution in Texas on death row.

    Irfan Khawaja is adjunct professor of philosophy at The College of New Jersey.

    It would be heartache enough to lose a loving husband and father like Waqar Hasan—worse to lose him violently, and worse still to lose him to the likes of Mark Stroman. But the heartache in this case may not end there, because Durreshawar and her daughters now face deportation. Though Waqar had applied for green cards for his family before he was murdered, his application died with his murder, as such things do. Since Durreshahwar’s and the girls’ immigration status was tied to Waqar’s, they now have no independent way of applying for a green card, and no legal means of staying in the country.

  11. : Killer of gas clerk gets death penalty
    : Family of victim in Sept. 11 retaliation is happy with sentence

    : 04/05/2002

    : By TIM WYATT / The Dallas Morning News

    : A Dallas County jury handed the death penalty Thursday to a Dallas man who claimed that a series of shootings last fall that killed two immigrants and maimed another were retaliation for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    : Mark Anthony Stroman, 33, received the death sentence after three days of trial testimony and less than four hours of jury deliberations for the Oct. 4 robbery and slaying of Vasudev Patel, a 49-year-old gas station attendant in Mesquite.

    : As state District Judge Henry Wade Jr. read the verdict, Mr. Stroman nodded his head and then said: “Thank you, sir.” He waved briefly at family members while being led out of the courtroom.

    : Mr. Stroman also is charged with two Dallas shootings that killed convenience store owner Waqar Hasan, 46, on Sept. 15, and blinded Rais Bhuiyan in one eye at a Pleasant Grove gas station a week later. Mr. Stroman was not on trial in the September shootings but confessed to all three after his Oct. 5 arrest by Mesquite police.

    : The widows of Mr. Patel and Mr. Hasan left the court without commenting. A family member, John Patel, said that his family was “very happy with the verdict” and that the brutality of the killings called for the death penalty.

    : Teressa Talamantez said her brother-in-law “didn’t do right” by attacking the three men, “but now [Mr. Stroman's] children are victims of this.”

    : “It’s just more sadness,” Ms. Talamantez said. “American justice failed again. It’s just not right.”

    : Prosecutor Greg Davis said the attacks were committed out of “pure hatred” that claimed two lives and devastated victims’ families.

    : Mr. Stroman “attempted to say he was a patriot,” Mr. Davis said. “He was anything but a patriot. What he is, is just a common vigilante.”

    : ‘Chaotic mind’

    :
    : Defense attorney Jim Oatman had no comment after the verdict, but during closing arguments he told jurors that until the World Trade Center attack his client only talked of being a white separatist. After Sept. 11, he said, Mr. Stroman’s actions turned violent for what his “chaotic mind” twisted into a patriotic act.
    : “He thought he was being a hero,” Mr. Oatman argued. “He thought that America would praise him and pin a medal on his chest.”

    : The prosecution vehemently disagreed.

    : “If there are any true Americans here, it’s these people,” he said, pointing to the family members of Mr. Stroman’s victims seated in the gallery. “Not this man.”

    : Mr. Hasan, a Pakistani immigrant and father of four, moved to Dallas last year from New Jersey to open a convenience store in Pleasant Grove. He was shot once in the head while working behind the grill of Mom’s Grocery, but no money was taken from an open cash register.

    : Mr. Bhuiyan emigrated from Bangladesh in 1999. He worked at a Texaco station in Far East Dallas, where he was blinded in one eye by a single blast by Mr. Stroman from a .410-gauge derringer. He testified Wednesday that Mr. Stroman shot him in the face and walked out without taking money from an open register.

    : Mr. Patel was a naturalized U.S. citizen who worked 18-hour days at the Shell station on Big Town Boulevard to support his wife and two children. Mr. Stroman shot him in the chest with a .44-caliber revolver.

  12. Conclusion:

    Why should the tax payers have to be punished for Mark’s crimes. As you can see by the two articals, Mark has a long criminal record predating 9/11.
    If you go to his blog, you will see it’s all about poor Mark and the way he is being treated. He has caused all this pain and I’m not talking about his self inflicted pain, he is no better than the 9/11 terrorists.

  13. Forget the moral aspect–Think of the facts; killing a killer is stupid, costly, and subject to error. Hard and public time would be a better deterrent, and cost less.
    Thanks for sharing the informative post.