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Peter King’s hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims got off to an emotional start today, when Rep. Keith Ellison—the first Muslim American elected to Congress—broke down in recounting the story of a Muslim paramedic who died while responding to the 9/11 attacks and was later, according to Ellison, vilified for his faith. “Mohammed Selman Hamdani was a fellow American who gave his life for other Americans,” Ellison declared, voice quaking with repressed tears. “His life should not be identified as just a member of a religion.”

One Democrat asked King to waive committee rules and allow members to comment on the emotional statement, but King refused, Politico reports. The chairman had opened the hearings with a defiant statement, saying that the hearings would go on despite the controversy around them. “To back down would be a craven surrender to political correctness,” he declared. The panel’s ranking Democrat countered that the language used in the hearing could be used in al-Qaeda propaganda

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