Ellison’s emotional testimony

ELLISON’S EMOTIONAL TESTIMONY…. As part of Rep. Peter King’s (R-N.Y.) hearing on the “radicalization” of American Muslims, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) appeared as a witness, and offered powerful testimony.

Ellison, of course, is the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, and has been subjected to all kinds of ugliness. Soon after getting elected, Ellison appeared on Glenn Beck’s CNN show, and was told by the host, “[W]hat I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.'”

This morning, then, the Minnesota congressman had an important perspective to share. You can read the prepared text and watch the entire opening statement, but the part of Ellison’s remarks that resonated most came towards the very end, when the Democrat told the committee about Muhammad Hamdami, a 23-year-old first responder who died on 9/11.

In an emotional story, Ellison described the young man who “wanted to be seen as an all-American kid.” He loved Star Wars, played on his high school football team, and became a research assistant at Rockefeller University while driving an ambulance part-time.

“Mr. Hamdani bravely sacrificed his life to try to help others on 9/11,” the congressman said. “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 because he was Muslim. 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 identified as 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.”

Reading the words doesn’t capture the emotional qualities of Ellison’s remarks, as the congressman spoke through his tears. If you can’t see videos from your work computer, I hope you’ll put this aside to watch it later.