At a House hearing on homegrown terrorism today, Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, the only Muslim member of Congress, broke down while giving testimony, as he related the story of Muslim-American Mohammed Salman Hamdani, a twenty-three-year-old paramedic and 9/11 first responder who tragically lost his life after the heinous attacks. Rep. Ellison explained that, following the tragedy, some people tried to smear the young man's character based on his faith, spreading false rumors and speculating that he was allied with the attackers because he was Muslim. It was only after his remains were identified that the lies were fully exposed.
Ellison criticized New York Republican Rep. Peter King for being point man on the controversial Homeland Security Committee hearings that have discussed how to combat the radicalization of the U.S. Muslim community. He emotionally defended the fallen young man, saying:
"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 Americans. This committee's approach to violent extremism is contrary to American values and threatens our security."