On July 2, 2016 a terrorist attack took place at the Holey Artisan Bakery, a popular restaurant for Bangladeshis and foreigners in Dhaka.
Twenty people were brutally murdered after a 12-hour standoff, thirteen hostages were rescued, two policemen were killed and many others injured.
Details of what actually transpired are still being discovered. The New York Times has reported that the Islamic State has taken credit for the attack and purposefully targeted foreigners. We know that the hostages were told to recite the Quran in order to be spared. We also know that the profile of the attackers had changed from the usual stereotype to privileged educated men.
One story we have not heard enough about yet is the story of a young Muslim man who sacrificed himself to try and protect his two friends.
Faraaz Hossain, Tarishi Jain and Abinta Kabir were hiding in a toilet stall as the terrorists entered the Holey Artisan Bakery. The three of them had been friends for years, having studied together at a prestigious school in Dhaka. Hossain was Bangladeshi, Kabir was American, and Jain was Indian. Sometime during the 12 hours that the attack lasted, the three friends were discovered. Faraaz Hossain was told he could leave as he was a Muslim. He refused to leave since he did not want to abandon his friends. Reports say when his body was found you could tell an intense struggle had taken place.
Hossain’s display of courage affected me deeply. I doubt I could have done what he did. With so many articles strictly focusing on the danger of terrorism—and politicians and pundits using this to build a case for xenophobia, profiling and outright hate—I encourage readers to share this story.
Why? In America we have a presidential election coming up. Since 9/11, the conservative party has used “fear” of Muslims as a campaign tactic to convince voters that profiling is only way to protect their beloved country from more terrorist attacks. In 2016, this tactic has been amplified to the point that Donald Trump is suggesting a ban on Muslims from entering the United States. Many people do not see this as xenophobia. They merely see this as common sense.
There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. The average Muslim has nothing to do with the extremist attacks fueled by hatred and intolerance of the modern world. In fact, Islamic extremists kill more Muslims than any other religion. If we elect a leader who wants to ban an entire religious group from entering our country, aren’t we also acting intolerant and hateful? Is this what we want America to represent?
I for one would rather encourage understanding and tolerance in others and myself. I know I would be thankful if a man like Faraaz Hossain, a Muslim, was by my side during the next shoot-out at a movie theater. Someone accepting of me, whether I am American, Indian or Muslim.
Haurapreet Kaur, an Indian, wrote these beautiful words and created this meme to honor Hossain’s actions:
“Given a choice to walk free, 20-year-old Faraaz Hossain took a decision to remain hostage along with his two friends, Tarishi Jain and Abinta Kabir. His bravery was eventually rewarded with death but gave us the hope we all needed in the face of terrorism, that even when prayers lose their ground, actions of courage never do.” ~ Hunarpreet Kaur from Phagwara writes a #Live tale on #Dhaka.
As we approach this coming election, let’s spread the word that people of all races, religions and colors are capable of great acts of courage, and remember:
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” ~ Maya Angelou
Author: Deb Jarrett
Editors: Caitlin Oriel; Yoli Ramazzina