Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Storekeeper Proves Actions Speak Louder Than Words

This story really warmed my heart.
NEW YORK (CNN) -- A potential victim became a compassionate counselor during a recent robbery attempt, changing the would-be criminal's mind -- and apparently his religion.

Storekeeper Mohammad Sohail was closing up his Long Island convenience store just after midnight on May 21 when -- as shown on the store's surveillance video -- a man came in wielding a baseball bat and demanding money.

"He said, 'Hurry up and give me the money, give me the money!' and I said, 'Hold on'," Sohail recalled in a phone interview with CNN on Tuesday, after the store video and his story was carried on local TV.

Sohail said he reached under the counter, grabbed his gun and told the robber to drop the bat and get down on his knees.

"He's crying like a baby," Sohail said. "He says, 'Don't call police, don't shoot me, I have no money, I have no food in my house.' "

Amidst the man's apologies and pleas, Sohail said he felt a surge of compassion.

He made the man promise never to rob anyone again and when he agreed, Sohail gave him $40 and a loaf of bread.

"When he gets $40, he's very impressed, he says, 'I want to be a Muslim just like you,' " Sohail said, adding he had the would-be criminal recite an Islamic oath.

"I said 'Congratulations. You are now a Muslim and your name is Nawaz Sharif Zardari.'"

When asked why he chose the hybrid of two Pakistani presidents' names, the Pakistani immigrant laughed and said he had been watching a South Asian news channel moments before the confrontation.

Sohail said the man fled the store when he turned away to get the man some free milk.

He said police might still be looking for the suspect but he doesn't intend to press charges.

"The guy, you know, everybody has a hard time right now, it's too bad for everybody right now in this economy," said the storekeeper.
I first heard about it in a short blurb on MSNBC, but they didn't mention the fact that the store owner was Muslim. I'm glad that CNN didn't leave that out in their article. These days, so many people use their religion as an excuse to hate people. My view towards religion is that if a particular god doesn't make you want to be a kinder, more loving person, then it isn't worth worshipping. Evidently, Mohammed Sohail's religion motivates him to be compassionate and forgiving towards others. Sohail clearly had the upper hand in this situation. His gun trumped the robber's bat, hands down. Many (most?) people in his position would have, at the very least, turned the guy in to the police. Instead, Sohail put himself in the guy's shoes and tried to address the reasons why the man was trying to rob him.

A lot of Christians would benefit from heeding his example. Instead of trying to force society to show deference to their religion, they'd probably have a lot more success at proving the validity of their beliefs if they behaved more like Mohammed Sohail.


BLESSD1 said...

Beautiful story, Bint; beautiful post.

Renee said...

It was a beautiful story. Now that times are so bad we really need to try and take care of each other a little better. Muhammad presented a great example to us all of how we should treat each other.

Salspua said...

OMG, that's beautiful!