The story of Mark Ströman
Executed for "Hunting Arabs", following 9/11. His legacy:
In the weeks following 9/11, dozens of attacks against Muslims, Sikhs and other minorities were reported across America. Among the perpetrators was Mark Ströman, who began “hunting Arabs,” setting targets on anyone he thought came from the Middle East. His victims happened to be immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. He killed two and partially blinded a young man from Bangladesh. He was arrested, convicted, sentenced to death.
In the weeks before in impending execution, his only surviving victim became his biggest advocate – Rais Bhuiyan, a devoted Muslim, began a campaign to spare Mark's life in the name of Islam and its notion of mercy (see www.worldwithouthate.org)
Mark himself operated some deep internal changes during his years on death row, accepting he had been wrong and trying to make amend by helping others. His friend Linny stated:
"There was not a day going by that went without Mark thinking about what he had done. He had a genuine desire to make amends. He had quietly been helping people all around the world. People with illnesses, people with cancer, people like my 78 years old Mum (...). I had grown to respect him. Even as he was facing the death himself at the time of his execution, his thoughts went to other people. The change that Mark could have made to use his life experience as a lesson and to stop hatred and bring peace to this World was lost with him when he was executed on 20th July 2011, as was the love, kindness and support that he was giving through his letters, to many people in need of it Worldwide."
Don't become a Mark Ströman...
HOW TO PREVENT HATE CRIMES?
TURNING THE BIAS AROUND
Psychologists point out that prejudice and hate crime have long historical antecedents. For example, German Americans were scapegoated during World War I, and were the victims of beatings, house burnings and other forms of violence. Some leaders such as in the Bush administration have tried to address prejudice by promoting the idea that it was un-American to act in a biased manner toward people of other races, religions or ethnicities. In the end, it may well be a myriad of individual actions that could be doing the difference. Role model leaders are much needed.
Rais Bhuyian, the surviving (Muslim) victim of Mark Ströman created the World Without Hate movement.
"In order to create a World Without Hate, we must remember, it cannot be achieved unless a world without hate is first achieved in our minds and hearts.
I am dedicated to transforming the human heart,
one heart at a time"
Why do people commit hate crimes?
Hate crimes have a devastating emotional and psychological impact, terrorizing not only the direct victims, but entire communities.
So why people do it?
These people are not psychotic, but they're consistently very troubled, very disturbed, very problematic members of our community who pose a huge risk for future violence, (...)Childhood histories of these offenders show high levels of parental or caretaker abuse and use of violence to solve family problems.
Psychologist E. Dunbar, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Mark Ströman was a textbook example: Born as an unwanted child, physically abused throughout his childhood by his stepfather, he learnt from his familial surrounding about violence, racism, and substance abuse. Sadly, despite being diagnosed with mental health problems at the age of 10 and 13, he never received adequate treatment.