The most poignant and only memorable moment in the recent congressional hearing looking into the radicalization of the American Muslim community came when a Minnesota congressman tearfully recalled the sacrifice of a young Bayside man who gave his life on 9/11.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison had to compose himself several times as he recounted the story of Mohammad Salman Hamdani, a young NYPD cadet and paramedic whose body was found in the smoldering rubble of the World Trade Center.
“Mr. Hamdani bravely sacrificed his life to try and help others on 9/11,” Ellison said. “After the tragedy, some people tried to smear his character solely because of his Islamic faith. Some people spread false rumors that speculated he was in league with the attackers because he was a Muslim.”
Hamdani’s mother charged that King attempted to put all of Islam on trial. “I will continue my mission to educate the nation and fight this stereotyping and prejudice and discrimination against Muslims,” she said.
King was not moved by his critics. “To back down would be a craven surrender to political correctness,” he said.
Not so. Respecting the millions of Americans who believe in Islam is not “surrender to political correctness.” The hearings are offensive.
It is true there are radicals trying to recruit in the mosques and Islamic centers in America. The anti-terrorism unit of the U.S. State Department concludes on its website that al-Qaeda represents the greatest threat for terrorism worldwide. But this threat is being investigated by the Homeland Security Department, the FBI and the CIA. If anything, King’s divisive hearing may make it easier for radicals to find fertile ground in America’s mosques.
The hearing hosted by King is a sad reminder of the televised hearings held by ex-Sen. Joseph McCarthy. He ruined careers and lives while exploiting the nation’s fear of communism.
King’s defenders may feel this commentary is one-sided and fails to point out any of the good that came from King’s hearing. That is because we do not know of any. What we know is that Americans who practice Islam are angered by King’s hearing.
And they have every right to be.