Asian Pacific American Month: Bangladesh

Bangladesh is in Southern Asia and according to the CIA Fact Book, ” bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India” and is “slightly larger than Pennsylvania and New Jersey combined; slightly smaller than Iowa.”

The population is 89 percent Muslim and 10 percent Hindu. Less than 0.9 percent are other (Buddhist or Christian).

New York City has the largest Bangladeshi community in the US with about 50,677 people. Of that 60 percent are in Queens, 19 percent are in Brooklyn and 17 percent are in the Bronx.

Notable People

Rais Bhuiyan (1973) was born in Bangladesh and a former officer in the Bangladesh Air Force. He studied computer technology in New York City, but at the time of the 9/11 attacks, he had moved to Dallas. A friend offered him a partnership at a gas station. He was working at the gas station when Mark Anthony Stroman (1969-2011) decided to seek revenge against Muslims four days after the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Stroman shot and killed 46-year-old Pakistani Waqar Hasan who was grilling hamburgers. Then on 21 September 2001, Stroman went to the Dallas gas station where Bhuiyan was working. Stroman shot the 28-year-old Bhuiyan in the face.

Stroman would kill one more person on 4 October 2001, a Hindu Indian immigrant, 49-year-old Vasudev Patel.  Hasan and Bhuiyan were both Muslim. Bhuiyan was the only person to survive but he lost sight in one eye. Despite Bhuiyan’s protests, Stroman was executed by lethal injection on 20 July 2011.

Bhuiyan is featured in the 2016 documentary by filmmaker Ilan Ziv, “An Eye for an Eye.” While originally Bhuiyan wanted a career in technology, he now has a nonprofit called World Without Hate. Recent events has caused Bhuiyan has a renewed message about hate incidents.

Born in East Germany, Jawed Karim is the co-founder of YouTube and designed key parts of PayPal. He grew up in East and West Germany but moved to Minnesota in 1992.  He was an early employee of PayPal and while there, he teamed with Chad Hurley and Steve Chen to found YouTube and Karim uploaded the first YouTube video.

Salman Khan is the founder of Khan Academy, a nonprofit educational organization. Born in Metairie, Louisiana, Khan’s father was from Bangladesh and his mother from India. He graduated from MIT with a BS and an MS in Course 6 (electrical engineering and computer science) another BS in Course 18 (mathematics) in 1998. He began tutoring his cousin and eventually moved his tutorials to YouTube in 2006. His videos were so popular, he developed his own YouTube channel, Khan Academy with his friend Josh Gefner. Andrew Ng, a Stanford AI researcher noted that Khan was an inspiration behind the founding of Coursera.

Anika Rahman was CEO of Ms. Foundation for Women and is currently Chief Board Relations Officer at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). She was born in Bangladesh and raised by her mother after her father divorced and abandoned her family. She received a BA from Princeton and a JD from Columbia Law School. She became a US citizen in 1997.

 

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