Politics

How Military Father Khizr Khan Is Responding to Trump's Immigration Order

Khizr Khan, the Muslim father who famously spoke about his fallen son at the Democratic National Convention last July, has responded to President Donald Trump's travel ban, which halts the U.S. refugee program and bars visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries. 

Khan, a Harvard educated Gold Star father born in Pakistan, became a vocal opponent of Trump leading up to the presidential election. In an interview published Sunday, he told The New Yorker's Robin Wright the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries is "un-American." 

"I say to President Trump and his security advisers, the drafters of these executive orders, to get out of the White House and go to Arlington Cemetery and stand in front of all the tombstones and learn from observation that Muslims, and people from all other faiths, have given their lives to protect the Constitution and values of pluralism and equal protection," Khan said.

Khan's son, Humayun Khan, was a 27-year-old Army captain in Iraq when, in 2004, he walked toward a taxi speeding through a checkpoint, yelling at his fellow soldiers to take cover. The vehicle exploded, killing him. 

Khan said that the discrimination against Muslims actually makes the country less safe. 

"When a community at large feels alienated, bad elements start to rise. It’s the tragedy that has happened in Europe," he told the New Yorker. "It had failed to include immigrants from various parts of the world. Bad elements among them gained strength and began to think of harming societies."

A 2011 report by Fazia Patel, the Brennan Center's co-director of the liberty and national security program, suggests that discrimination against Muslims makes Muslim-Americans less willing to give information to law enforcement. 

"Many American Muslims believe their communities are treated as inherently suspicious by the government," Patel wrote. "As a result, while American Muslim communities have been invaluable partners in the government’s counter-terrorism efforts, some American Muslims are becoming more guarded in their relations with law enforcement agencies."

Khan called on all Americans to get involved in the political process as an act of patriotism and to fight discrimination. 

"It could be on public service boards, local county boards. Don’t be pushed into the corner. Run for office if you can. Participate in campaigns. Contribute to campaigns," Khan said. "I say this not only to Muslims. It is critical to Muslims, but I say it to all American patriots."

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