Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota and one of two Muslim members of Congress, cried while giving testimony at Rep. Peter King’s recent hearings on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.” He could not hold back his tears as he recounted the story of Mohammed Salman Hamdani, a Pakistani-born Muslim and an NYPD cadet, who died during the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9⁄11 while performing his duty. Ellison cried as he lamented how Mr. Hamdani was smeared and accused of colluding with the terrorists. In Ellison’s words:
After the tragedy some people tried to smear his character solely because of his Islamic faith. Some people spread false rumors and speculated that he was in league with the attackers only because he was Muslim. It was only when his remains were identified that these lies were fully exposed. 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 citizens.
This account has been disputed by Matthew Shaffer in an article for National Review Online. But what is more interesting is Ellison’s emotional testimony, as it betrayed more about Ellison than he meant to reveal.
Let us assume that Ellison’s tears are not disingenuous. And let us also assume that he is not practicing taqiyya, the act of deliberately lying to an infidel, which is sanctioned by Islam because an infidel does not have equal status to a Muslim and can therefore be lied to.
I personally think Ellison’s tears were sincere. But the question is: why are they flowing only for Mohammad Hamdani? What about the hundreds of firefighters and policemen who were killed? What about the thousands of civilians who were killed? Should not the tragedy of all of these people drive a man to tears?
Why is Mohammad Hamdani more tear-provoking than others? He was just another American doing his job, irrespective of his religion.
But that’s not how Ellison sees it. He wasn’t just another American – he was a Muslim American, and to Ellison, being a Muslim is far more important than just being an American. Ellison feels solidarity and unity with a Muslim to the point of an embarrassing display of crying. At first glance, one is moved by these tears, for who can show no sympathy to a weeping man? But at second glance, the question arises: just exactly who or what are you crying for, Mr. Ellison?
Mr. Hamdani’s story is not unique. There are literally hundreds of these stories from 9⁄11. Pick at random any firefighter or policeman who lost his life on 9⁄11 and his story would be just as compelling. All of them died selflessly in the line of duty. No one is better than the other. No one story is better than the other.
What’s so special about Mohammad Hamdani?
He was a Muslim.
And Ellison uses this to play the victim card. The Muslims are the victims; the victims are not the people who are killed every day by Muslim terrorists.
Where in the United States exactly are Muslims victimized? In America, Muslims enjoy the same freedoms as any other religious group, and they are subject to the same fear and prejudice as any other religious group. In fact, Americans have been remarkably restrained and circumspect in dealing with Muslims, given that Islamic jihadists have declared war on America, committed terrorist acts, and killed thousands of Americans. If Ellison does not believe Muslims are victims, he is cynically using this tactic to deflect attention from the very issue the hearings were called to investigate: namely, radicalization in the American Muslim community.
Reasonable people on all sides agree that a segment of the Muslim population is engaged in jihad against the non-Muslim world, with America being the primary target. Muslims on both sides acknowledge this. Al-Qaeda and groups of its ilk plainly state this. Muslims who oppose Al-Qaeda say this.
The King hearings were called to investigate radicalization in the American Muslim community, which in fact is already happening. The hearings were a reasonable and necessary thing to do, and Muslims have no reason to fear them.
As a sworn representative of the U.S. government, Ellison is charged first and foremost in defending America, its Constitution and its people. But he disagreed with the premise of the hearings and testified against them, and in so doing failed to take a reasonable stand on the issue. Is Ellison willing to assert for the record that there is no threat from Muslims to America? None whatsoever?
The disturbing implication of Ellison’s fount of tears testimony is that he chose to defend Islam, not America or Americans.
Peter BetBasoo is an Assyrian from Iraq who immigrated to the United States in 1974. He is the cofounder and director of the Assyrian International News Agency and is the author of the report, “Incipient Genocide: the Ethnic Cleansing of the Assyrians of Iraq.”