Mohammad Salman Hamdani
Mohammad Salman Hamdani (Urdu: محمد سلمان ہمدانی) (December 28, 1977 – September 11, 2001) was a Pakistani American scientist.
New York City Police Department cadet and Emergency Medical Technician who was killed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorism attacks on the World Trade Center, where he had gone to try to help. In the weeks following 9/11, reports surfaced that the missing Hamdani was being investigated for possible involvement with the perpetrators, but this suspicion proved to be false and he was subsequently hailed as a hero by the New York City mayor and police commissioner.
Hamdani was mentioned in the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act of the U.S. Congress as an example of Muslim Americans who acted heroically on 9/11. An intersection in Bayside, Queens has been renamed “Salman Hamdani Way” in his memory, and scholarship awards established in his name at Rockefeller University and Queens College in New York.
Salman Hamdani was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and moved to America with his parents when he was 13 months old. He had two younger brothers, Adnaan and Zeshan, who were born in the U.S. His mother, Talat, taught English at a Queens middle school and his father, Saleem was the owner and operator of a convenience store in Brooklyn until his death on June 26, 2004
The family lived in Bayside, where Hamdani was on the football team at Bayside High School.He majored in biochemistry at Queens College while working part-time as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). He studied abroad in London his junior year before graduating in June 2001. In July he started employment at Rockefeller University, working as a research technician in the Protein/DNA Technology Center in association with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
He was determined to get into medical school, but if he was not accepted he wanted to become a detective and apply his scientific knowledge toward forensics. He joined the NYPD’s cadet program in addition to working at Rockefeller University. The night before Sept. 11, he was working on an application for medical school and helping his father cope with heart disease.
Sept. 11 and Aftermath
It was believed that on the morning of September 11, 2001, while on the way to work at Rockefeller University, Hamdani witnessed the smoke coming from the Twin Towers and hurried to the scene to aid victims, using his police and EMT identification to get a ride through the restricted traffic
Hamdani was reported as missing; his family feared he had gone to the World Trade Center in an attempt to help as an EMT, but held out hope he was being secretly held by the government because of his religion. His mother wrote President George W. Bush to plead for his help. In the weeks following the attack, FBI and NYPD investigators began questioning the family about Hamdani. His mother said U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, whose congressional district included Queens, was among the officials who came to the family’s Bayside home to ask questions about her son, including what his motives were for becoming an NYPD cadet, which Internet chat rooms he visited and why he had been in London. They confiscated a college graduation photo of Hamdani posing with a student from Afghanistan.
Media began to report that Hamdani’s disappearance was under investigation. Reporters appeared at the family’s home, and the New York Post published a story about him entitled, “Missing or Hiding? — Mystery of NYPD Cadet from Pakistan.” Anonymous “Wanted” posters were distributed featuring Hamdani’s NYPD cadet photo and the phrase “Hold and detain. Notify: major case squad,” while some of the family’s own missing posters were torn down.