The Harmony Foundation yesterday named the braveheart of the Dhaka terror attack, Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain, for this year's Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice.
The award will be conferred posthumously upon Faraaz, who was killed during the terror strike at a restaurant in Gulshan on July 1, said Harmony Foundation President Abraham Mathai.
"On July 1, Faraaz courageously stood up against the terrorists, refused to let his Hindu friends bear the brunt of the terrorists' ire by standing up for them, earning him the title of a 'hero'," Mathai told IANS.
Faraaz's parents will land in Mumbai to receive the award on his behalf on November 20. This is the first time the award would be conferred posthumously upon anyone in its 12th edition, he added.
The award, instituted in 2005 in the memory of Mother Teresa, is the only one in the world recognised by the institution she founded, the Missioneries of Charity, Kolkata, and the first time after she was canonised to Sainthood on September 4 by Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Some of the past recipients have been Medecines Sans Froneiters, the Dalai Lama, Malala Yousafzai, Dr Mahathir Mohammad, Baroness Caroline Cox and other global personalities or organisations, Mathai said.
Accepting the Harmony Foundation's decision, Faraaz's family said: "On behalf of my son, it is an absolute honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to accept the award. Though in deep grief, we cling onto the immense pride with which Faraaz has filled our hearts. He stood up for what was right by paying the highest cost any human can pay and we hope every day that his sacrifice does not go in vain."
Mathai said the 20-year-old Faraaz was "the obvious choice" and the world needs heroes like him for his act of selflessness and choosing to lay down his life for his friends.
"He displayed courage and bravado when faced with life and death. We consider it our most humble privilege to bestow this honour on Faraaz," Mathai said.
As part of the award ceremony, the Harmony Foundation has organised an International Conference on Combating Terrorism, which is likely to be addressed by former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Saarc Secretary-General Arjun Thapa, former union minister Farooq Abdullah and others.