Sep 13, 2022 - News

9/11 hate crime survivor resolution stalled in Congress

Photo illustration of a collage featuring Rais Bhuiyan, an American flag, and a piece of masking tape over paper textures.
Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photos: Leigh Vogel and Richard Pruitt/Getty Images

Rais Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi immigrant shot in the face by a white supremacist not long after the Sept. 11 attacks, is lobbying members of Congress to pass a bill recognizing the survivors of 9/11-related hate crimes.

Why it matters: Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, who represents the area of North Texas where Bhuiyan was shot, introduced a resolution last September to honor the victims of anti-immigrant violence in 9/11's aftermath.

  • Several prominent Democrats, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, co-sponsored the legislation, but the resolution has stalled.
  • With Johnson retiring this year, the legislation could disappear if it isn't passed before the November midterms.

The big picture: The fledgling house resolution recognizes nine homicides — in Texas, California, Arizona, Michigan and Minnesota — and more than 700 acts of violence nationwide that occurred in the weeks after the Twin Towers and Pentagon were attacked.

What happened: Mark Stroman, who killed two other men in the same violent spree, told police he was seeking revenge for the Sept. 11 attacks and was sentenced to death. Bhuiyan forgave Stroman and has dedicated his life to ending hatred — even unsuccessfully suing the State of Texas in an attempt to stop Stroman's execution.

Reality check: The resolution hasn't garnered much support, despite Bhuiyan's door-to-door entreaties in the halls of Congress, he tells Axios. He's been disappointed — but not disheartened — by the political stagnation.

What they're saying: "As a nation, this is something very simple that we can do," Bhuiyan says. "The more time goes by, the further this bill gets pushed down. I'm very worried."

What's next: Bhuiyan will be in Washington this week as part of a White House event dedicated to "countering hate-fueled violence."

  • While he's there, he hopes to bring attention to the hate crimes victims resolution.
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