Rep. Keith Ellison’s emotional testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee’s hearing on Muslim radicalization as he recounted the tale of a 9/11 first responder who died in the attack was powerful stuff. But some conservatives had a different reaction — suggesting Ellison was putting on a show and even that there were not false rumors about the 9/11 first responder in the heated period after the attacks.
Mohammed Salman Hamdani was, as Ellison testified, “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.” Ellison testified that some people “spread false rumors and speculated that he was in league with the attackers only because he was Muslim.”
“Ellison’s crocodile tears are in service of a deception,” wrote Robert Spencer on his blog Jihad Watch. “The existence of Muslims who truly accept American Constitutional freedoms does not mitigate or refute the existence of jihadists, jihad sympathizers, and Islamic supremacists among Muslims in the U.S., and vice versa. This would be an elementary point taken for granted by everyone were it not for the determined efforts of Congressman Ellison (D-Muslim Brotherhood) and his allies to obfuscate it.”
Ellison, wrote Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin, was “drawing sympathy from the same liberals and pundits who had taunted the speaker of the House for his tears” — comparing Boehner’s tears over not being able to visit schools anymore to Ellison crying about attacks on a Sept. 11 victim due to his faith.
“Yes, Muslim Ellison shed big tears for a Muslim who died on 9/11, but not for all the almost 3,000 ‘infidels’ who died on that day,” writes the blogger “Robert” on the Patriot Action Network.
“Ellison crying over a Muslim killed on 9/11,” Chris Plante, a former Pentagon correspondent for CNN who hosts a radio show on D.C. radio station WMAL, wrote on Twitter. “I assume he cried harder for the U.S. Airmen shot in Germany & our troops at Ft. Hood.”
“Pardon me while I hurl” Kevin Eder of the Media Research Center wrote on Twitter in response to Ellison crying “when he said people shouldn’t be identified by their religion or ethnic group.” Clarifying his quote, Eder wrote in response to an inquiry that he thought “left-wing politicians regularly identify ppl by their race/ethnicity. Amusing to see them all of a sudden decrying it.”
The website Weasel Zippers issued a “vomit alert” over Ellison’s testimony.
Matthew Shaffer of the National Review isn’t buying the story Ellison told, writing that his account of rumors about Hamdani didn’t check out with reality.
“There’s little evidence of the ‘rumors’ of which Ellison speaks, either,” Shaffer writes. “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.” Sean Hannity picked up on the National Review story, which Fox Nation linked to with the headline “Ellison’s Emotional Story Stretches the Truth.”
But it turns out there were multiple reports in newspapers and on television supporting the fact that there were rumors about Hamdani. In a Sept. 21, 2001 interview with CBS, Hamdani’s mother said they were “having troubles coping with it because we can’t go outside without having people give us looks and have this feeling that, ‘Hey, you’re to blame for this.’ It’s, like, we’re being targeted for something we didn’t even do.”
As Shaffer points out, a Oct. 12, 2001 New York Post story titled “Missing — or Hiding? Mystery of NYPD Cadet from Pakistan” (which no longer exists online) reports that “investigators for the FBI and NYPD have since questioned the family about which Internet chat rooms he visited and if he was political.” (His mother called that article “slander” in an interview on Democracy Now following the hearing yesterday.)
Then the New York Daily News reported on April 6, 2002, that the “story of a Pakistani-born Muslim man living in Queens who was unexpectedly missing after Sept. 11 quickly took on sinister implications.”
The New York Times reported on March 9, 2003, that “ugly rumors circulated: he was a Muslim and worked in a lab; he might have been connected to a terrorist group. Months later the truth came out.”
But Shaffer isn’t buying the story of the family of a victim of the Sept. 11 attacks.
“The belief that Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a victim of anti-Muslim bigotry was never based in reality,” Shaffer wrote. “It was manufactured by the Left as a rhetorical prop, exploited as a bludgeon against people who want to talk seriously about terrorism.”
In case you missed it, here’s the video of Ellison’s emotional testimony.