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 profound sympathy to everyone who has been touched by this unspeakable act of violence.  I empathize with the victims, survivors, and their loved ones. Their lives–all lives–should never have ended or forever been altered in such a horrific and tragic way. My deepest, heartfelt condolences go out to the victims, survivors, and everyone whose life got torn apart by this shooting. I am praying that comfort and peace may come.

This incident, yet again (sadly) highlights the need for all people of heart and good conscience to dedicate themselves toward a pursuit of better human behavior, better human relationships, a better world…a world without such hate, intolerance and violence. We should not only mourn as a nation, but also work together, regardless of ethnic and cultural background, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or skin color, to make America safe for ALL. We must build bridges among each other. We must embrace one another, our diversity and uniqueness, and our incredibly varied communities. 

Please understand that pointing fingers, blaming, or dehumanizing anyone or any group who had nothing to do with this (or any) evil act is not only dangerous, but will further divide an already divided nation and cause even more innocent victims. 

I urge us all, I plead, show respect to your fellow human beings, regardless of how angry you are or how much pain and suffering you are enduring in your own life. Please do not take your anger and frustration out on others. Please don’t buy into some media’s discriminatory presumptions. Please remember, though it may seem impossible at the moment, that love conquers hate in the end. 

We all deserve a peaceful, respectful, and dignified human life. To help make that possible for everyone, take the time to reach out to family members, friends, or neighbors who may be going through challenges instead of ignoring them. By doing so, we can help save many innocent lives.

With heartfelt condolences,

Rais Bhuiyan

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