Khizr Khan, the father of a fallen American Muslim solider, on Thursday delivered the most powerful rebuke yet to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his intemperate remarks about the community.
“Let me ask you,” Khan said from the stage at the Democratic National Convention, “have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.”
Holding it up, Khan urged Trump to “look for the words liberty and equal protection of law”. The floor erupted with applause as Khan continued with his stinging denunciation of Trump.
“Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery (where Americans killed in battlefield are buried)? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America.”
He added, “You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
Khan, accompanied on the stage by his wife, is of Pakistani descent. The couple came to the US from the United Arab Emirates, where they had been living.
Capt Humayun Khan, their son, was killed in Iraq in 2004 in a suicide car bombing after he ordered his men to step back and let him inspect a vehicle carrying the explosives himself.
Speaking about his son, Khizr Khan said he wanted to become a military lawyer but “but he put those dreams aside the day he sacrificed his life to save the lives of his fellow soldiers”.
“If it was up to Donald Trump,” Khan said, “he (Humayun) never would have been in America. Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims.”
There was no response from Trump, whose attacks on the Muslim community form a major pillar of his campaign, or his aides to Khan’s remarks.
In his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, Trump had doubled down on the issue, saying “we must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place”.
He did not use the word “Muslims”, but did mention “Islamic” six times for terrorists, terrorism and radical elements. A terrorist is not a just a terrorist to him, he or she is a “Islamic terrorist”.