Days after 9/11, Mark Stroman, an avowed “American terrorist,” shot three South Asian immigrants in Dallas. The lone survivor of the three, Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a former officer in the Bangladesh Air Force, who had migrated to the United States with the dream of making a career in technology, lost the sight in his right eye, fell into debt as a result of his medical expenses, and was abandoned by his fiancée. A decade later, inspired by his hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, Bhuiyan decided to forgive Stroman, in the name of Islam, and joined the campaign to spare his would-be murderer from death row.
The True American is a remarkable true story which traces the making of these two men, their fateful encounter, and their journeys to find peace. Written with a journalist's eye for observation and attention to fact, it embodies a compassion which immerses the reader in the lives of its protagonists, while keenly exploring the American Dream in its many complex dimensions. It encompasses an exploration of both American xenophobia and the nation's dependence on immigrants, the encounter of Islam and the West, and it is ultimately a story of how — or whether — we choose what we become.
Anand Giridharadas will be in conversation with Jack Tchen, New York University. The program will be followed by a book sale and signing.
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