The first Muslim elected to Congress broke into tears Thursday as he delivered his opening remarks at a hearing on radicalization in the Muslim American community.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) became heavily emotional as he spoke about a 23-year-old New York Police Department cadet and paramedic named Mohammed Salman Hamdani.
Hamdani, a Muslim, was killed attempting to save people from the collapsing World Trade Center buildings on Sept. 11, 2001, following the terrorist attacks, Ellison said.
Ellison was barely able to finish his statement but said he was concerned that fear-based rumors and prejudice could arise from Thursday’s hearing before the Homeland Security Committee. It is titled, “The extent of radicalization in the American Muslim community and that community's response.”
“Mr. Hamdani bravely sacrificed his life to try to help others on 9/11. [Pause] After the tragedy some people tried to smear his character [pause] solely because of his Islamic faith.
“Some people spread false rumors and speculated that he was involved with the attackers because he was a Muslim," Ellison continued. "But it was only when his remains were identified that these lies were exposed.
“Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a fellow American who gave his life for other Americans. His life should not be just a member of an ethnic group or just a member of a religion, but as an American who gave everything for his fellow Americans.”
Ellison has criticized the hearing over the past few weeks and continued to denounce it in his testimony, saying that it could further ostracize the Muslim American community.
Video of Ellison's remarks can be found HERE.