September 11th, 2012
12:33 PM ET

Mom wants Muslim son’s name moved to be among first responders at 9/11 memorial

By Susan Candiotti, CNN

You won’t find Mohammed Hamdani among the names of the first responders that are etched in a wall at the 9/11 memorial in New York.

But on the day of the 9/11 attacks, the 23-year-old certified EMT and onetime NYPD police cadet skipped his job at a university research lab to rush to the World Trade Center. Not long after, his family posted Hamdani’s picture on a wall of the missing.

Six months later, his remains were found - in 34 parts.

"They gave us his jeans and his belt, which my husband identified were his clothes,” says Hamdani’s mom, Talat.

"He was a prime example of what it is to be a human being,” she says, recalling his decision to go to the World Trade Center 11 years ago. “He went in there to save humanity."

Atheists fight against ‘9/11 cross’ at World Trade Center site

When the 9/11 memorial opened last year, Talat wanted to see her son’s name grouped among the first responders who lost their lives trying to help others.

Instead, the Pakistani-American’s name is positioned in a separate section of the memorial, among those considered loosely connected to the World Trade Center.

His mother is convinced her son’s Muslim religion has set him apart: "They are discriminating because of his faith and that is not right."

“He did not stop to wonder are they Christian or Muslims or are they Jews or their ethnicity or their color,” Talat says of her son’s actions on 9/11. “It's just humanity.”

World Trade Center returns to New York skyline

The memorial denies discrimination, saying Hamdani was no longer an active cadet when he was killed and that he had not received a presidential medal for valor, which the memorial says were the memorial’s criteria for “first responder.”

“So many of the names on the 9/11 Memorial represent individuals — both in and out of uniform, known and unknown — who displayed extraordinary bravery on that horrible day, and that includes Mohammed Salman Hamdani," a spokesman for the memorial said in a statement.

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"While this case did not meet the criteria for the ‘First Responders’ section of the Memorial, that in no way diminishes the courage and bravery Mr. Hamdani and hundreds of others showed on 9/11,” said the spokesman, Michael Frazier.

At the same time, the NYPD calls Hamdani a hero, having honored him in 2002 with a police funeral that included full honors from New York’s mayor and police commissioner.

"The fact that it was acknowledged in a very, highly honorable fashion was gratifying,” Talat says, remembering that day. “I was very satisfied at that moment."

On the one-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD gave Hamdani’s family a badge.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Talat says she’ll keep fighting to move the name of her son, who grew up in New York and dreamed of becoming a doctor. She has contacted public officials from her congressman to the White House seeking help with her fight, but to no avail.

"I want to see it in my lifetime,” she says. “It's a very - it's so intense pain that is indescribable."

“He's not here to speak for himself,” Talat says. “I have to speak for him. And I will till the day I die. "

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 9/11 • Islam • Muslim • New York

soundoff (415 Responses)
  1. LOL

    What her son did was great. No argumant there. Which part of 'he didn't meet the criteria' does she not understand? Oh that's right, it's because she's muslim according to her. I'm surprised the ACLU isn't involved. Maybe she can get Jesse & Al to help her out.

    September 13, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  2. icon-design

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    September 13, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  3. Iqbal Khan

    Destroying The World In War
    The 11th Anniversary of 9/11

    By Paul Craig Roberts

    You only have to know two things. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32421.htm

    September 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  4. dirtypantieslover

    is public recognition that big of a deal for this ego-stricken woman? let it go. the guy tried to help and he did a good thing. do we need to give medals or write people's names on walls to acknowledge this? what a joke.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • stiven

      Ego-stricken woman ??! This is so....cruel to write, who ever you are, I just hope that you will realise that by your self. Mom who lost her son in such a dramatic way is according to you Ego – striken ? Shame on you.

      September 13, 2012 at 4:05 am |
    • Mel

      They explained why his name was where it is, but the Mother doesn't want to play by the rules. She wants special treatment because she's muslim.

      September 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  5. Hope

    This mother is in unbearable pain at the loss of her talented dedicated child. Give her some sympathy that it is unfortunate that her son's intentions that day did not place him in the first responders list. Obviously, there was careful consideration and criteria to this list. The mother wants to change the outcome of that day by telling his story and has chosen this issue to focus on in her grief. I hear her pain. I think we must all thank the NYPD for holding this brave young man to the highest regard for his efforts on that terrible day. His actions were outside that of what we expect of the brave people whose job it is to respond to crisis. His actions were out of pure intent to help his fellow man as many others also demonstrated that day.

    September 12, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  6. Iqbal Khan


    September 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  7. Reality

    I'm a waste of skin.

    September 12, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Reality

      Not from the original Reality.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  8. AvdBerg

    9/11 was a culmination of the rising tensions between civilizations in a divided world. For a better understanding of the history of Islam and the Middle East we invite you to read the articles ‘World History and Developments in the Middle East’ and ‘Clash of Civilizations’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    September 12, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • mama kindless

      Revelation?? Everyone knows that this John the Divine dude or whoever he was, crashed his camel in a lake of batch salts or worse to come up with that garbage. He was high as a kite. Probably ate some spoiled food after he got high.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • AvdBerg

      mama kindless

      But the natural man (like yourself) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:14,15).

      For this reason our message remains the same: Ye must repent in order to be able to understand the Word of God, including the Book of Revelation. We have provided the article ‘Repent’ on our website for your perusal.


      September 12, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • AvdBerg

      mama kindless

      But the natural man (like yourself) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:14,15).

      For this reason our message remains the same: Ye must repent in order to be able to understand the Word of God, including the Book of Revelation. We have provided the article ‘Repent’ on our website for your perusal.


      September 12, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • mama kindless

      And Paul was just as much a numskull as the writer of Revelation. Self-proclaimed "apostle" know-it-all. Joseph Smith has as much cred as Paul. I don't believe any of them. Salesmen and politicians of old.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • AvdBerg

      mama kindless

      You are correct about Joseph Smith and invite you to read the article 'Mormon Church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot' listed on our website. As far as Paul is concerned, you don't know what spirit he is of (Luke 9:55) since you are spiritually blind. For this reason our message remains the same: Ye must repent.


      September 12, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • max3333444555

      i laugh when i read comments about mormonism being crazy when compared to christians that believe revelations

      September 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • max3333444555

      repent and ye shall be saved and spend eternity with a bunch of born agains. woohoo! eternity being a sycophant with a bunch of crazies!

      even if your book is not fairy tales...

      September 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      AVDBerg, you do realize that the book you quote was written and edited by mortals, right?

      September 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Indianapolis

      If you really want a history less to understand the Muslims, study the history of Roman Catholic during the “dark ages”.
      Only difference is we can murder nonbelievers faster and in larger groups.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm |

      This poster is a TROLL on this blog, they are liars and they are trying to sell their book to support their cult. Click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!

      September 12, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  9. Barb

    A lot of people ran into those buildings to try to help, and died. They were not "first responders" She is trying to use her faith to make a point. Many died that day as Hero's, he is being remembered. Leave it at that, dont try to make it that because he was Muslim he was not given what YOU think he should have. He was not on duty as a first responder, he wen in as a civilian and will be said as one.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • Angela J

      Sure as a mother you would feel hurt. But as a Muslim, you will believe that he will get his reward in Jannah (heaven). And that my friend, is better than removing and repositioning his name on a plaque. God knows best!

      September 12, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • James

      What do you think a first responder is? He went in and WASN'T getting paid to do so, only out of a sense of civic duty. He is the purest form of first responder.

      September 12, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  10. Reality

    Putting the kibosh/”google” on religion to include Islam:

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    September 12, 2012 at 7:43 am |
  11. Jorge

    I wonder what special place in hell there may be for those who dedicate themselves to doing harm to those who have done nothing to them, in the name of religion, racial notions, national "patriotism", greed or any other type of voluntary-stupidity-induced chauvinism.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  12. saggyroy

    Another fine example of christians being christians. But they get their cross in the museum.

    September 12, 2012 at 6:21 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 12, 2012 at 4:42 am |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 12, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  14. Kevin14618

    He died a hero like so many other first responders that day and deserves to be honored with them.

    September 12, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • george smythson

      But he wasn't a first responder. Hero, yes. Professional fire fighter or policeman, no...

      September 12, 2012 at 7:13 am |
    • le_dude


      EMTs are first responders.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • thechoos

      @kevin14618....very well said......anyone who helped with no prejudices are heroes!!!

      September 13, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  15. Urafkntool

    His bomb went off late

    September 12, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  16. Reality


    From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----–

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
    be upon him) alone."

    Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

    September 11, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Truth

      You're on an article about a person who lost his life to a group of terrorists who flew two planes into the World Trade center in the name of Allah, and you are trying to convert people to Islam. Am I the only one who is missing something here?

      September 12, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • *facepalm*

      @Truth – you clearly didn't read (or comprehend) more than about five words of that post.

      September 12, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • Nick

      Your rant about your religion is disrespectful to others. this is not the place to try to convert people or "save the world". It has nothing to do with the artical and should be removed.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:51 am |
    • Bob

      That's rich, Nick. Go sell that to all the atheists on the blog and see their reaction. You're a knob. A big, shiny knob.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:07 am |
  17. Iqbal Khan


    September 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  18. Robert S

    i'm not saying i don't empathize with this person. but do you have any idea how much effort was put into arranging the Names that go around the "Voids" it's not just a matter of moving his name. it would force the shuffle of MANY names and possibly the re-carving of many name stones. at who's expense. tax payers.

    sorry, but your son sacrificed his life to help as best he could. i really don't think he would be so petty as to throw a tantrum over where his name is... someone that petty would not of rushed to the scene of that kind of disaster.

    again, i'm sorry he did not meet the criteria, but do you really want them to spend 100's of thousands of dollars re-carving granite to move the name?

    September 11, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Nick

      Robert S- I understand your stand on cost but, I also understand the reasoning behind his mother wanting his name where it should be on that wall. Damn the cost, I say she should speeak with the city about it and get the price and ask for donations. I bet she could raise the money in under a week for the project.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:45 am |
  19. Iqbal Khan


    September 11, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  20. Iqbal Khan

    Check these out..




    September 11, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Carl


      September 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.