'We are responsible for the well-being of this country': Khizr Khan speaks at Islamic Center
Less than two hours after an appeals court refused to restore President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations, Khizr Khan, perhaps the most famous Muslim American of last year’s campaign, celebrated the news among his admirers at the Islamic Center of Greater Miami.
“There will not be any ban,” Khan predicted.
“I am sure all of you have heard by now that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal unanimously — all judges — have stayed the ban permanently,” he added, as the crowd at the Miami Gardens mosque broke into applause and a couple of hollers.
“That speaks volumes to the malice that Donald Trump and a few members of his Cabinet, a few members of his [national] security staff, have against Muslims. They will be defeated. There are patriotic Americans among Republicans that know that these are not the values of this country.”
Khan called the ban — and Trump’s hostile reaction to the judiciary — “an embarrassment.”
“I hope somebody translates into easy English to him,” he said of the ruling. (“Donald Trump is an immigrant,” Khan added. “Two-thirds of his wives are immigrants. Mothers of his children are immigrants. How dare he has forgotten that! So we will remind him.”)
It was a rallying cry from Khan, the Gold Star father who became an overnight political celebrity after he spoke against Trump in July at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Khan’s 27-year-old son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004.
“Have you even read the United States Constitution?” the elder Khan asked of Trump as he pulled a copy of the Constitution from his pocket at the convention. “You have sacrificed nothing.”
Trump later criticized Khan, suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s aides had written his speech and implying that his wife, Ghazala Khan, stood quietly on stage next to him because her religion hadn’t “allowed” her to speak. She later wrote that she was too upset to do so. Prominent Republicans implored Trump to stop going after the parents of a soldier killed in combat.
Khizr Khan said Thursday that his other two children, and his friends, had advised him against taking part in the convention. He cited his Muslim faith as pushing him to speak out and said he whittled his initial seven pages of remarks down to his 260 words.
Since the convention, Khan, a Pakistani-American lawyer, said he has visited 87 communities to elaborate on his message to resist the “dark forces” of intolerance. On Friday, Khan will be honored by the Miami-based Americans for Immigrant Justice, an advocacy organization that will give him its “America’s Immigrant Spirit Award.” Co-sponsoring Khan’s visit were the Islamic Center, COSMOS (the Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations) and the PAK American Association of South Florida.
“That is an obligation of every patriot American: If he or she sees that the values of my country are being violated, it’s obligatory on us to remain standing, remain in dissent, remain speaking, remain protectors of one another,” Khan said Thursday.
Khan urged fellow Muslims to run for public office (he won’t run himself, he told a man who called him inspiring) — but also to make friends with their neighbors from other faiths and communities: “There is a rise of anti-Semitism throughout the country and throughout the world — we are not the only community that is being subjected to this.”
But his key audience were Muslims, whom he characterized as under siege from some “ignorant” people who wish to attack them. He urged men to stand guard at mosque doors during prayer and women to go outside in small groups and to remain vigilant and peaceful if harassed.
“Most of this country stands with you, stands with Muslims,” he said, referring to the protests that erupted across the country two weeks ago after Trump enacted the travel ban. “If you do not believe that, go to any airport, and see how Muslims are being received. How Muslims are being respected.”
“The best thing this election has done for us,” he added, “is it has brought all of us together. We were not like this before.”
Speaking with reporters after the speech, Khan lambasted Trump again: “I have questions about his mental sanity.”