Khizr Khan first made headlines alongside his wife, Ghazala, at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, where they paid tribute to his son Captain Humayun Khan, a US soldier killed in Iraq. The Gold Star parents asked then-Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, if he had ever read the Constitution and offered to lend him their copy.
Khan talked with David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” a podcast from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN, about his experience in 2016 and how he came to be on stage at the DNC, rebuking Trump for his proposed ban on Muslims entering the country.
Khan told Axelrod he and his wife had a difficult time deciding whether or not they would attend the DNC, adding his children warned their “reputation” and “peace” would be “maligned.”
But Khan was ultimately inspired by a letter he received from four children.
“Mr. and Mrs. Khan, would you make sure that Maria is not thrown out of this country,” he remembers it saying. “We love her. She’s our friend. She’s a good student.”
Khan recalls walking into the living room to show his wife: “She’s going to say to me … ‘no, let’s just call them and tell them we cannot participate.'”
To his surprise, Ghazala had already confirmed their attendance to the DNC.
Trump is no longer calling specifically for a ban on Muslims entering the country, but his travel ban on a number of majority-Muslim countries did get the approval of the Supreme Court in June.
Khan has since published a memoir, “An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice,” that looks into his life pursuing the American dream, the loss of his son and the America he believes in.
The Pakistani-American says America “must get back on its path to uplift the mankind.”
“This nation knows itself. That is why I implore every American to read your founding documents,” Khan suggests, “to become aware of the history the journey that this nation has traveled 231 years of this by remaining beacon of hope for the rest of the world.”
“How dare this division this tribalism has made its way back in, in United States.”