Yesterday Rep. Keith Ellison broke down and cried while testifying at Rep. Peter King’s hearing on the radicalization of Muslims in America.
Ellison, who has decried the committee’s singular focus on the Muslim community, became visibly upset as he recounted the story of Mohammad Hamdani, a Muslim-American paramedic who was among the many first responders killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11.
The Democratic congressman choked back sobs as he described how Hamdani, a 23-year-old “Star Wars” junkie who grew up in Queens, was falsely linked to the 9/11 attackers after his death, simply because of his faith. When his remains were finally discovered at Ground Zero, Ellison said, Hamdani was vindicated.
The thing is, Ellison made it up. Hamdani was never liked to the 9/11 attackers. He was the subject of a very preliminary investigation which was dropped almost as quickly as it began. There is no evidence that his character was smeared, as Ellison charged.
No. It is actually pretty close to the opposite of the truth. In fact, six weeks after the September 11 attacks — before Hamdani’s remains were identified, which Ellison implies to be the turning point of public perception — Congress signed the PATRIOT Act into law with this line included: “Many Arab Americans and Muslim Americans have acted heroically during the attacks on the United States, including Mohammed Salman Hamdani, a 23-year-old New Yorker of Pakistani descent, who is believed to have gone to the World Trade Center to offer rescue assistance and is now missing.” That is, Hamdani was actually singled out for particular high honors among the thousands of victims of the September 11 attacks.There’s little evidence of the “rumors” of which Ellison speaks, either. Poke around yourself. Go to Google and search for Mohammed Salman Hamdani’s name, using various time frames from before today’s hearings (say, in the week after the September 11 attack). You’ll discover two discordant sets of returns: none for sites and news reports accusing Hamdani of being a terrorist, and many thousands of pages honoring him as a hero while claiming that he was “widely accused” of being a terrorist.
The only thing found was a New York Post article that is no longer online.
So the Post reported 1) that Hamdani’s family believed he died in the WTC attacks, 2) that the FBI asked Hamdani’s mother a few background questions after a mistaken sighting, and 3) that an unnamed source felt such questioning implied guilt. No doubt, that was hard on the grieving mother. But frankly, this — a mistaken sighting, and very preliminary investigations of many people, most of whom turn out to be innocent — is the kind of thing that inevitably happens after a major terrorist attack.
Other than that report, and a few inquiries, Hamdani was routinely hailed as an American hero. But Ellison couldn’t be bothered telling you that. It doesn’t fit the narrative.