Father of slain Muslim soldier takes on Trump
The father of a Muslim-American soldier who was killed in the Iraq War delivered a passionate appeal at the Democratic National Convention for voters to support Hillary Clinton, accusing Republican Donald Trump of sacrificing “nothing” and “smearing the character” of religious minorities like his family.
Khizr Khan, whose son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, 27, died from a suicide bombing in Baghdad 12 years ago, said that if Trump is able to follow through on his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country, his late son never would have been able to come to serve the country in the military. The Khans, a Muslim family, immigrated to the United States from the United Arab Emirates.
“Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America – you will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities,” he said. “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
Speaking on the fourth and final night of the convention, Khan’s remarks set the tone before Clinton accepted the party’s nomination.
Kahn’s focus on the contributions from immigrants – a direct rebuke to Trump’s proposals – spoke to the heart of who Clinton says she is, emphasizing a core message from the campaign that Trump’s plans to restrict immigration would end up hurting more than it helps.
In one particularly powerful moment of his speech, Khan pulled a pocket-sized Constitution from his suit jacket and held it in the air.
“Donald Trump, you’re asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution?” he said. “I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words, look for the words, liberty and equal protection (under) law.”
His speech and reference to the Constitution came just minutes after Trump defended his stance to use waterboarding on terror suspects if he became president.
“They ask me about it, I say, ‘no problem. No problem. You have to do it. Because they’re chopping off heads and we can’t waterboard?” Trump said during a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, describing his response to a question about waterboarding and ISIS during a debate.
Khan said in his speech: “If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America. Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.”
Humayun Kahn enrolled in the ROTC program at the University of Virginia after completing high school in Maryland. He graduated with a degree in psychology before being deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Army.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Khan was a counselor to soldiers with plans to attend law school. He wanted a career advocating for veterans.
But on a June morning in 2004, Khan was inspecting the front gates of his Baquba, Iraq, camp with other soldiers when a car sped toward the group causing Khan to order the soldiers to hit the ground.
Khan took 10 steps toward the car as it rushed toward him signaling for it to stop with his right hand when the car blew up. It contained more than 200 pounds of explosives. Khan’s warning to other soldiers about the approaching vehicle had saved their lives.
Khizr Khan was born in Pakistan and moved his family from the UAE to Boston in 1980 to study law at Harvard University. He now lives in Charlottesville, Va., and works as a legal consultant, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, called his speech “moving” and “electric.”
“That was probably one of the most moving events of the entire four days when he talked about his son. I got a boy in the Marines, so I hear somebody who sacrificed a child in military service. It really grabs you,” he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on New Day. “That was just an absolutely electric moment in the building and I suspect it was electric for everyone watching it on television.”