muslim mother fights for son's place on sept. 11 memorial

Mohammad Salman Hamdani, a Pakistani American New York City police cadet who died at the World Trade Center in the September 11 attacks, is nowhere to be found on the list of fallen first responders at the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan.

Instead, his name is an afterthought, added to the memorial's perimeter where the placements are -- let's be honest -- given less significance.

This New York Times article is a frustrating examination of the anger over how Hamdani's legacy was treated after the September 11 attacks, and how he fell under suspicion largely because of his Pakistani roots and Muslim religion: Obscuring a Muslim Name, and an American's Sacrifice.
To Mrs. Hamdani, that her son would not be recognized at the memorial as an official first responder was the latest in a series of injustices that began with a knock on her door from two police officers in October 2001. She, her husband and two other sons had been searching morgues and hospitals for his body. But the officers wanted to ask questions, and they asked for a picture from the refrigerator that showed Mr. Hamdani, 23 when he died, at his Queens College graduation next to a friend who Mrs. Hamdani had told them was from Afghanistan.

It was around the same time that Mr. Hamdani's official police cadet picture was circulating through police stations on a flier with the handwritten words "Hold and detain. Notify: major case squad," The New York Times later reported. Investigators visited Mr. Hamdani's dentist and confiscated his dental records, his mother learned.

It was not until March 2002, when the family was finally informed that Mr. Hamdani's remains had been found in the wreckage more than five months earlier, that the public cloud over his name cleared.
The guy gave his life in one of our nation's darkest moments. But because he was only a cadet, he didn't make it onto the police's list of their fallen. Still, consider what a statement it would have made to include a man named "Mohammad" among the memorial's most honored. but I guess they're not interested in making that kind of statement. (Thanks, Catherine.)

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