–Talat Hamdani, Who Established the Award in Honor of Her Son, Met the First-Ever Recipient on May 24 at Queens College; U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison Tearfully Told the Hamdani Story During March Hearings on Muslims in America–
FLUSHING, N.Y., May 25, 2011—On September 11, Mohammed Salman (“Sal”) Hamdani, a June 2001 Queens College graduate in the process of applying to medical school, saw the smoking towers on his way to work as a laboratory technician at Rockefeller University. He rushed downtown to help and died in the towers’ collapse. Now Hamdani’s mother, Talat, has established a new award to honor her son’s dream by financially aiding a graduating senior who has been accepted to medical school. She has expressed a preference that the recipient have shown an interest in Pakistani heritage and/or be in need of financial assistance. To donate to the new Salman Hamdani Memorial Award, visit http://www.qc.cuny.edu/supportqc/Pages/default.aspx.
“Just as Salman Hamdani helped his fellow Americans selflessly on 9/11, not caring about their beliefs but just seeing human beings, I want to be able to do the same one day,” says Queens College graduating senior Anam Ahmed, the first recipient of the Hamdani Memorial Award, which is administered by the Queens College Foundation.
When Hamdani—a New York City-certified EMT—went missing on September 11, his family feared that he either had perished in the collapse or was being held by the authorities, as were many Muslim men in the aftermath of the attack. While hundreds of men and women lost their lives trying to save their fellow New Yorkers that day, only Hamdani was suspected of being a terrorist. Today, this Pakistani American is recognized as a hero. Mayor Bloomberg attended his funeral in early 2002 when his remains were discovered at Ground Zero, calling him “an example of how one can make the world better.” His heroism is acknowledged in a section of the U.S. Patriot Act on “Congress Condemning Discrimination Against Arab and Muslim Americans.” And at the televised Congressional hearings on Muslims in America called by Congressman Peter King last March, Congressman Keith Ellison told the Hamdani story, his voice breaking during the emotional testimony.
Anam Ahmed, who plans to attend SUNY Downstate College of Medicine this fall, has much in common with Hamdani: both came to the United States from Pakistan before the age of three; both were chemistry majors hoping to become doctors; and Anam’s research mentor, Professor Wilma Saffran, also knew Salman. Ahmed, a Salk Scholar and member of the Macaulay Honors College, has worked with disadvantaged children, volunteered at Beth Israel Medical Center, spent a summer teaching English to 6th graders in Thailand, and tutored fellow students as a member of Beta Delta Chi, the Queens College chemistry honor society.
Talat Hamdani and Anam Ahmed met for the first time on Tuesday, May 24. In an emotional exchange with Anam and her parents, Jameel and Fouzia Ahmed, Hamdani said of her son, “This is his legacy. He gave his life. They tried to take away his dignity in death and they cannot do it.” William Hersh, Salman Hamdani’s chemistry professor for several years, and Anam Ahemd’s chemistry professor and mentor Wilma Saffran, who taught Salman and Anam, joined Mrs. Hamdani and the Ahmed family at their meeting.
For more about Queens College visit http://www.qc.cuny.edu/Pages/default.aspx
Contact: Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services
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