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Bayside police cadet missing after Sept. 11

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Like so many families grieving after the destruction of the World Trade Center, the Hamdani family has kept vigil inside their Bayside home since the Sept. 11 attacks, hoping for any information on the whereabouts of 23-year-old Mohammad Salman Hamdani.

But unlike those who know exactly where their now missing relatives were when two hijacked commercial airliners crashed into the Twin Towers, people familiar with “Sal” Hamdani, a former police cadet who was born in Pakistan, said he should not have been anywhere near Lower Manhattan that day.

Hamdani’s family believes the young man, who was last seen leaving their 204th Street home to go to work early in the morning Sept. 11, may have been detained by authorities for questioning because he is Muslim.

Published reports said investigators have been searching for Hamdani for questioning in the World Trade Center attack. The New York Post said last week the authorities were particularly concerned that Hamdani, an emergency medical technician, still had a police identification card that would have allowed him to bypass security measures.

But some police sources believe Hamdani, a Queens College graduate who was working as a research assistant at Rockefeller University, has been in hiding since Sept. 11 or was killed when the World Trade Center collapsed, according to the reports.

Hamdani had been working as a police cadet at the Housing Bureau but stopped in April and never entered the Police Academy, Newsday said. The Post quoted Hamdani’s parents as saying the young man had abandoned being a cadet to work full time.

The FBI denied that they had circulated an FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorist Task Force flier identifying Hamdani as a suspect, according to Newsday.

The FBI could not be reached for comment as of press time Tuesday.

An aunt who answered the phone at the family’s Bayside home, where they have lived for about five years, said Hamdani’s parents had traveled to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to pray for his safe return.

“The family has gone to get comfort and solace,” said the aunt, who did not give her name. “They have gone to ask for miracles.”

The family put out a flier seeking information on Hamdani’s whereabouts, which describes his regular routine of leaving his house at 8:30 a.m. to go to work. Hamdani regularly took the bus to Flushing where he hopped on the No. 7 train to Times Square.

Neighbors of the Hamdanis said the family has been in mourning since their son’s disappearance.

“These people were really in pain,” said neighbor Victor Suchy, a retired Peter Luger’s waiter. “There was a lot of praying going on. They are nice neighbors, friendly people.”

Naomi Fuchs, also a neighbor, said “they are very nice people. It’s a close-knit family — they’re just shattered over this.”

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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