Orlando: I am with you

The recent tragic event in Orlando, FL is truly barbaric, despicable, and an act of pure evil. I am speechless. I am beyond shocked. It has been extremely difficult to find the right words to express how tremendously devastating this terrible hate crime truly is. I can only speak from my heart; as an American, a Muslim, a peace activist and human rights advocate, and as a hate crime survivor myself. From my experience, I know at this time, I can only offer my

Judge Lou Olivera: An Exemplary Example for Justice with Compassion, Mercy, and Dignity ~ Rais Bhuiyan

At a recent event, in reference to such conflicts as bullying, aggression and terrorism, my interviewer asked, “Shouldn’t we fight back, shouldn’t all criminals pay for their crimes?” My response was that while punishment is needed to maintain justice, law and order in society, it does not need to completely destroy a person, their life or his/her family. Rather, the criminal justice system should serve to repair and give the perpetrator a second chance to become a better human being. As I have learned, ‘justice isn’t truly served if not tempered

Coming from peace: An open letter to Donald Trump

[Updated as of Aug 2016] Dear Mr. Trump, My name is Rais Bhuiyan. I am an American Muslim and survivor of a violent post 9/11 hate crime. I deplore the acts of violence and hatred that are wrongly performed in the name of my religion, they do not represent me or my beliefs, and they do not reflect the lessons taught in the Qur’an. I also denounce all manifestations of hateful acts and rhetoric. While I respect you for obtaining the GOP nomination for President, as

World Day Against the Death Penalty Conference at SMU

If you are in the Dallas area, the Embrey Human Rights Program invites you to attend Journey of Hope’s World Day Against the Death Penalty Conference. The conference will take place on Saturday, October 10 from 9am-5pm. and will be held at Southern Methodist University, 133 Fondren Science Building. From Journey of Hope: “Journey of Hope…from Violence to Healing is an organization that is led by murder victim family members that conducts public education speaking tours and addresses alternatives to

David’s Story

In 2010, when I was well on the road to getting my life back together, I moved into an attractive apartment complex in Dallas. I wanted to be polite to my new neighbors in the fashion of my culture, so I made Bangladeshi rice pudding for everyone in my building. I put the dessert in containers and went door to door to introduce myself and present my gift. Most people accepted it graciously, even the ones who had no intention

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