Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who gained national attention last year after sparring with President Donald Trump, is still shocked that Trump won the election.
Trump has shown ignorance and a lack of empathy, Khan said in an interview.
But Khan remains energized that the public disapproves of Trump’s policies – policies that Khan views as misguided.
“It has reaffirmed our beliefs in the goodness of the values that America – my nation – practices and that serve as a beacon for the rest of the world,” he said. “The majority of this nation has shown support for those values: the rule of law, treating all people with dignity and respect, conducting ourselves in a civilized manner. Those will prevail. This incompetent administration does not speak for the majority of America.”
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Khan spoke by phone Monday before coming to Raleigh for a tour promoting two books: “An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice,” and his children’s book, “This is Our Constitution.”
He will be at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh tonight at 7 p.m. for a conversation with Frank Stasio, host of WUNC’s “The State of Things.” The event is open to the public and is sponsored by Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books.
Khan and his wife, Ghazala Khan, are Gold Star parents whose son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, died while stopping a suicide attack near Baqubah, Iraq, in 2004.
Khizr Khan, a legal consultant who emigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in 1980, spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention with his wife by his side. Khizr Khan criticized Trump, saying that a proposed policy to keep Muslims out of the country would have prevented his family from coming to the United States. That also would have meant his son, who helped save the lives of his comrades, never would have served in the military. After Humayun Khan’s death, he was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
Trump answered the criticism by claiming that Khan spoke at the convention because his wife was “not allowed” to speak. The controversy escalated publicly over several days.
Since then Khan has become outspoken about the Trump administration. He recently said the administration had mishandled a controversy of condolence calls to families of fallen service members.
“An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice” tells the story of Khan’s upbringing in Pakistan, his immigration to the America whose Declaration of Independence inspired him, and the loss of his son. “This is Our Constitution: Discover America with a Gold Star Father,” for children ages 10 and up, explains the document one section at a time. Both books were released Oct. 24.
Khan said the profits from both his books will fund a needs-based scholarship in his son’s name at the University of Virginia.
During a phone interview, Khan talked about his love for his adopted country and his hopes for its future. Here are excerpts.
▪ Khan may be the only American who has ever been happy to queue up at his local department of motor vehicles. The first time he went to get a driver’s license, Khan said, “It was the most pleasant surprise. I had to take a ticket and wait in line like everyone else. That is what the rule of law is: We are all treated equally. We stand in line and we wait our turn.”
▪ Khan believes Americans will learn that the 2016 election was affected by interference from Russia, based on evidence that Russians bought targeted ads on Facebook to influence voters on Trump’s behalf.
When they realize the extent of the interference, Khan said, “They will rise to the occasion and they will make sure that our system of government prevails.”
▪ Khan will be speaking in Raleigh on Election Day. He voted early, he said, before he left his home in Charlottesville, Va., and he encourages others to participate in the process as well.
“In a democracy, every citizen is a patriot,” he said. “Whether we exercise our citizenship or not, that is a different matter. I appeal to every American: Don’t be a bystander. Speak. Vote. Be the voice of democracy. Otherwise, we see how out history can be altered by those who don’t wish us well, who only wish to divide us.”
Want to go?
Who: Khzir Khan book tour stop
Where: Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough St., Raleigh
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7
How to go: Admission is free, but advance registration is encouraged at http://nando.com/4yl. An RSVP doesn’t guarantee a seat. Receive a signing line ticket by purchasing An American Family from Quail Ridge Books before the event. Books will also be available for purchase at the event, including a signing line ticket. Large bags and backpacks are not permitted.
Info: Quail Ridge Books is at 4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road. Call 919-828-1588.