During Friday's quick hits section to open the show, I ran the audio of Rep. Keith Ellison's emotional testimony at the House hearings on the radicalization of Islam in America. Ellison, a Muslim, expressed outrage at the hearings from the start. His testimony conveyed the story of a Muslim American who died in the 9/11 attacks as a first-responder named Mohammed Salman Hamdani.
I laid out three critical responses to Mr. Ellison's testimony that conservatives need to keep at the forefront of our minds in dealing with comments like his. You can listen to it in the middle of this segment.
As it turns out, Mr. Ellison's testimony was fraudulent. It was built upon the premise that Hamdani was unfairly labeled a terrorist rather than a hero. Attempting to smear the hearings, Ellison decided to use Mr. Hamdani's sacrifice as justification for his claim that the hearings were nothing but a bunch of nasty, bigoted attacks on Muslims.
Unfortunately, his teachable story was not true:
Does Ellison's account check out with reality?
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.
Web pages that do source the claim that Hamndani was "widely accused" of being a terrorist typically trace back to a single report from the New York Post, dated Oct. 12, 2001, and titled "Missing ? or Hiding? Mystery of NYPD Cadet from Pakistan." The piece has been taken offline, but its content is preserved elsewhere.
After listing the full text of the Post's report, author Matthew Shaffer summarizes it this way:
[T]he 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.
After that questioning, the FBI didn't go farther in a serious investigation, and, a week later, Hamdani was singled out for honors by the United States' executive and legislative branches with those lines in the PATRIOT Act that immortalized his story.
Then, he was eulogized by the New York Times, had scholarship funds named after him, was honored by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (both of whom went barefoot to honor Muslim practice) at his funeral, and has been celebrated over and over again by the media.
The belief that Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a victim of anti-Muslim bigotry was never based in reality. It was manufactured by the Left as a rhetorical prop, exploited as a bludgeon against people who want to talk seriously about terrorism. If Hamdani was singled out for his faith, it would appear he was singled out for especially high honors. Most 9/11 victims were not half so celebrated as he was. Rather than suffering from apocryphal American anti-Muslim bigotry, Salman Hamdani appears to have benefited from America's eager inclusiveness.
Americans have long seen Mohammed Salman Hamdani as a hero. Too bad Representative Ellison saw him only as a prop.
Well said. If you listen to my audio clip from Friday, you'll hear me point out to Mr. Ellison that if he is truly wanting to end the days where men are categorized and judged on the color of their skin or their ethnic group, he should direct his lecture towards his own political party that obsesses over race. Apparently, he should direct it towards himself as well.