The brother of the first victim of a hate crime following the 9/11 terrorist attacks has told his murderer he forgives him.

Balbir Singh Sodhi, the owner of a petrol station in Arizona, was shot dead while planting flowers outside his shop four days after planes flew into the Twin Towers in 2001.

Mr Sodhi, an American-Sikh, was wearing a turban and was mistaken for a Muslim by Frank Silva Roque, who had previously announced: “I’m going to go out and shoot some towel-heads.”

In the recording of a phonecall between Rana Sodhi and Roque broadcast on the BBC, the convicted killer is heard asking for forgiveness.

“We already forgave you,” Mr Sodhi says in response, audibly moved.

He said even just after the trial, he did not want his brother's killer dead. He told the media at the time: "I don’t want to take his life, this is not [what] my Sikh religion teach[es] me, to take somebody’s life.

"He made a mistake. He will regret [it] someday, because my brother was the nicest person in this earth [sic].

"His death changed my life [...] his death changed so many people’s life [sic].”

Mr Sodhi was the first in a long line of hate crime killings following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The emotional exchange between the men was recorded as part of a project that seeks to fight against a rise of hate crime in America founded by Valerie Kaur, a civil rights activist.

 

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