In one of the most poignant moments of the Homeland Security hearings chaired by Congressman Peter King (R–NY), Congressman Keith Ellison (D–MN) broke down during his remarks. As reported by The Washington Post, “Ellison was talking about Mohammad Salman Hamdani, the American Muslim firefighter who died on 9/11. Because Hamdani, Ellison said, was a Muslim, he was the subject of conspiracy theories for months after his death. A NYTimes editorial later clarified: ‘Mr. Hamdani’s remains had been found near the north tower, and he had gone there to help people he did not know.’”

When the pundits start characterizing King’s hearings on domestic radicalization, it is worth remembering that if the hearings had not been held, most Americans would have never known about the courage and sacrifice of Mohammad Salman Hamdani.

And after all, was that not the whole point of the hearings? This is an issue worth looking at—not to demonize the Muslims in America but to protect them from exploitation. In the U.S., we have seen the tragic consequences of letting evil ideas go unchallenged. Just ask the parents and relatives of young Somali-Americans recruited to throw their lives away for al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group based in Somalia with more blood on its hands than a Chicago butcher