Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal has called upon fanatics to go talk to him.
“Come to me without your weapons and ask me questions. I will answer all your questions,” said the professor.
He was addressing a reception accorded to him at Mukta Mancha on Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) campus, where he was attacked by a suspected radical Islamist on March 3.
“How can a man be so unhappy that he comes to kill another man only to go to heaven? I would like to know what bothers you, what your pains are,” he said.
Zafar is a professor of computer science and engineering at SUST and a renowned educationalist and writer. He came under the knife attack from behind during a programme on the campus. He was stabbed multiple times in the rear of his head and once in his back.
He went back to the campus hours after he was released from Combined Military Hospital in the capital yesterday morning.
“I feel for the young man who attacked me. I am not angry at him,” he said.
He was really glad to be back on campus.
“This is my home, and I am at peace. Today, I commemorate Avijit Roy, my student Ananta Bijoy Das, Niloy, Dipan and of course Humayun Azad sir.”
Looking at the crowd that formed to hear him speak in the afternoon, he said many young people thought like the man who attacked him.
“There are many youths like him. And here, right now, maybe one of them is standing in the crowd wondering why I had survived. I have something to say to you. If you are confused, come to me.”
The professor, who is also known for a keen sense of humour, said he felt as if he was attending his own memorial ceremony.
Remembering the moments after he was attacked, he said, “When I was being taken to hospital, I checked whether my brain was functioning. I tried to remember the Fibonacci sequence and I recited the poem 'Hazar bochor dhore ami poth hatitechi' and I realised that my brain was perfectly okay.”
“I was not feeling peace in me until I stand before you. Now I am in peace”, the professor addressed the students thanking them to handle the situation so peacefully, not being violent.
Thanking CMH doctors, police and his students for their love, he said,
“I have now got a new lease of my life and now I have to figure out how to utilise it.”
Farid Uddin Ahmed, vice chancellor of the university and Yeasmin Haque, Zafar's wife and professor of physics spoke at the event.
Within moments after he was attacked, police with the support of students arrested the suspected attacker, Foyzur Hasan.
Sylhet Metropolitan Magistrate Court-3 on March 8 granted 10-day remand for Foyzur.