Muslim Rep. Ellison Overcome With Emotion at Radicalization Witch Hunt
March 10, 2011
(ChattahBox Political News)—-Whatever else happens at Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) “radicalization of the American Muslim community,” witch hunt hearings, we will be left with the heartbreaking sight of a Muslim congressman tearing up during his testimony. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), eloquently and emotionally testified this morning, objecting to “Ascribing the evil acts of a few individuals to an entire community.” Towards the end of his prepared testimony, Ellison could not hold back his tears, as he described the heroic efforts of a Muslin first responder who lost his life saving others after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The first responder, New York paramedic Mohammed Salman Hamdani, was initially, falsely accused of being part of the 9/11 attack solely because he was Muslim. Ellison reminded the Islamophobes at the hearing, of the consequences of casting dispersions on an entire religion. Hamdani was an “American who gave everything for his fellow citizens,” said Ellison.
Rep. King, who once described members of the Muslim faith as “an enemy living among us,” opened up his controversial anti-Muslim hearings defiantly saying if he listened to his critics and backed down from investigating Muslims, it would be a “craven surrender to political correctness.”
But Rep. Ellison’s emotional testimony set quite a different tone, as he warned that casting suspicion on the Muslim community would only make us less safe.
“As policy leaders, we need to be rigorous about our analysis of violent extremism. Our responsibility includes doing no harm. I am concerned that the focus of today’s hearing may increase suspicion of the Muslim American community, ultimately making all of us less safe,” said Ellison.
Ellison’s remarks retelling the story of Mohammed Salman Hamdani, as Hamdani’s mother looked on, will be remembered as one voice of reason in an otherwise disreputable return to McCarthyism.
Ellison’s testimony honoring Hamdani is below:
“Let me close with a story, but remember that it’s only one of many American stories that could be told. Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a 23-year-old paramedic, a New York City police cadet and a Muslim American. He was one of those brave first responders who tragically lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks almost a decade ago. As The New York Times eulogized, “He wanted to be seen as an all-American kid. He wore No. 79 on the high school football team in Bayside, Queens, where he lived, and he was called Sal by his friends… He became a research assistant at Rockefeller University and drove an ambulance part-time. One Christmas, he sang in Handel’s Messiah in Queens. He saw all the Star Wars movies, and it was well known that his new Honda was the one with “Yung Jedi” license plates.
Mr. Hamdani bravely sacrificed his life to try and help others on 9/11. After the tragedy some people tried to smear his character solely because of his Islamic faith. Some people spread false rumors and speculated that he was in league with the attackers only because he was Muslim. It was only when his remains were identified that these lies were fully exposed.
Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a fellow American who gave his life for other Americans. His life should not be defined as a member of an ethnic group or a member of a religion, but as an American who gave everything for his fellow citizens.”
Ellison’s entire testimony can be found here.