The city on Monday recognized the heroism of a young New Yorker who gave his life to save others on September 11, 2001, a tribute that's especially poignant because some at first thought he might have been a terrorist because of his religion. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
They called it a patriotic gesture. City Councilman Paul Vallone and other local leaders stood shoulder to shoulder with family and friends of Salman Hamdani on a street that now bears his name.
The city renamed 204th Street at 35th Avenue in honor of the 23-year-old NYPD cadet and paramedic, who was killed during the World Trade Center attacks.
"It means so much to me that anyone passes by here, no matter if they live in the neighborhood or just driving by, and like, 'Oh,' they'll look up, maybe see the sign, they'll research it and they'll find out my brother's story," said Zeshan Hamdani, Salman Hamdani's brother.
After Salman Hamdani's death, there was speculation that because he was Muslim, he was somehow involved in the attacks, but he was cleared when it came to light that he was a first responder.
"He ended up down at Ground Zero just trying to help save lives, and then he was, you know, the buildings came down, and he was gone," Zeshan Hamdani said. "Gave us a bag, said it was him, just body parts."
His death was recalled years later when, in 2011, Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota broke down while testifying about the discrimination suffered by many Muslim-Americans and the false accusations leveled against Hamdani.
"Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a fellow American who gave his life for other Americans," Ellison said.
Salman Hamdani's family said the street renaming is helping to heal some of those old wounds.
While they were excited about the street renaming, Salman Hamdani's mother and brother said they are pushing to get him another type of recognition."
"To be recognized officially by the NYPD and by the New York City administration, Mayor de Blasio's office, as a cadet that gave his life that day," said Talat Hamdani, Salman's mother. "A the 9/11 memorial to place him with the first responders."
The family said this is the first step in the process.