Thursday, August 19, 2010

The marginalization of Muslims in America

By Amy Goodman, rabble.ca, August 18, 2010

Salman Hamdani died on Sept. 11, 2001. The 23-year-old research assistant at Rockefeller University had a degree in biochemistry. He was also a trained emergency medical technician and a cadet with the New York Police Department. But he never made it to work that day. Hamdani, a Muslim-American, was among that day’s first responders. He raced to Ground Zero to save others. His selfless act cost him his life.

Hamdani was later praised by President George W. Bush as a hero and mentioned by name in the USA Patriot Act. But that was not how he was portrayed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. In October, his parents went to Mecca to pray for their son. While they were away, the New York Post and other media outlets portrayed Hamdani as a possible terrorist on the run. “MISSING — OR HIDING? MYSTERY OF THE NYPD CADET FROM PAKISTAN” screamed the Post headline. The sensational article noted that someone fitting Hamdani’s description had been seen near the Midtown Tunnel a full month after 9/11. His family was interrogated. Hamdani’s Internet use and politics were investigated.

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