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Khadijah’s Daughters is Shahnaz Chinoy Taplin’s blog focused on Muslim women – their issues, challenges and opportunities.

Shahnaz is Chair, Invest  in Muslim Women


August 1, 2016 San Francisco, CA
"No Unfettered License"- John McCain
"While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us," McCain said. "Lastly, I'd like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America. We're a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation—and he will never be forgotten."

Donald Trump is a bully. Faced with a grieving father and mother whose Muslim soldier son died defending the US, Trump went after the mother, absurdly claiming her religion had not allowed her to speak. “If you look at his wife, she was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me.”

As a Muslim woman who came to the United States on a full college scholarship due to foreign currency restrictions in India, I have lived, loved and raised my children in the United States. What I loved about the US right from the start was the generosity and kindness of Americans who did not know me at all and yet they stretched to invite me to their homes with a warmth and casualness that was really precious to an 18-year old college student in Denver, Colorado. That’s the America I came to and have loved ever since. I look back on that era is a period of civility and kindness, never dreaming that we would end up with Donald Trump as a front runner presidential candidate defying civility to its core.

Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of Captain Humayan Khan who died at the age of 27 on June 8, 2004 after he told his men to stop a suicide bomber outside the gates in Baquba in Iraq, were invited to speak at the Democratic Convention and tell their story. Mr. Khan, the father of the deceased son “electrified the Democratic Convention” and said to Mr. Trump, while waving a pocket Constitution “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.” 

Khan pointed out that in December, Mr. Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” With these rules in place, Khan would not have been able to serve the US.

After Trump in response went after his wife, Khizr fired back. He explained that his wife had not spoken at the convention because it was too painful. Mr. Trump, he said, “is devoid of feeling the pain of a mother who has sacrificed her son.” Ghazala Khan did speak on Friday to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, saying she “cannot even come in the room where his pictures are.” When she saw her son’s photograph on the screen behind her on the stage in Philadelphia, she said, “I couldn’t take it.”

Khan also said that his wife had helped him draft his remarks, and that he could not have done it without her support. “Her being there was the strength that I could hold my composure. I am much weaker than she is in such matters.”

Ghazala Khan, a retired professor at the University of Punjab, had a much tougher life than Donald Trump. I bet she’s made of tougher stuff. I wonder if Trump thought he could attack her because she was wearing a head scarf out of respect for the Convention.
 
Fortunately, even Republican politicians condemned Trump for his insensitivity. Gov. John Kasich of Ohio blasted Trump “There’s only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect,” he wrote, referring to the parents of veterans who die in service."

Tim Miller, a former communications director for Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, called Mr. Trump’s comments “inhuman.” “Memo to Trump supporters,” Peter Wehner, a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, wrote on Twitter. “He’s a man of sadistic cruelty. With him there’s no bottom. Now go ahead & defend him.”

And finally John McCain speaks out. "While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us," McCain said. "Lastly, I'd like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America. We're a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation—and he will never be forgotten." 

Mr. Khan has also urged asked Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, and Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker, denounce Mr. Trump. He called it “a moral imperative” that both leaders tell Trump “enough”; “You are about to sink the ship of the patriot Republicans”; he warned. “There is so much at stake, and I appeal to both of these leaders: this is the time. There comes a time in the history of a nation where an ethical, moral stand has to be taken regardless of the political costs”; he continued. “The only reason they’re not repudiating his behavior, his threat to our democracy, our decency, our foundation, is just because of political consequences”. The Democratic Convention with Hilary Clinton at the helm was decidedly different in that we are well on the way to electing America’s first woman president: Hallelujah! It is definitely a feel good moment for American women who have long waited in the wings and supported Hilary for president.
 
But for me, one of the highlights of this election was the fact that Hilary’s team reached out to a Muslim couple whose son, a soldier had died fighting for America. It was especially poignant, given the animosity often directed at Muslim citizens. This includes soldiers who don’t always get the glory and respect they deserve even on the battle fields -- where they fight the good fight for America, their new country of residence.

As a Muslim woman who has loved and lived in this country since my college years, I have admired how the United States welcomes new immigrants and makes us feel included and -- not excluded for the most part -- which is a tall challenge. The immigrant’s journey from distant lands is often fraught with fear and anxiety as we land on American soil. I will not deny that this is a difficult time in America. Donald Trump has polarized and exacerbated the push/pull of immigration for a great many immigrants who have patiently waited their turn to become United States citizens.

When asked by Stephanapoulous what he would say to the grieving father, Mr. Trump replied, “I’d say, ‘We’ve had a lot of problems with radical Islamic terrorism.’”

How callous can Trump be? Is he for real?

Still, Donald Trump may be a bully, but he is not the America I know.
Copyright © 2016 Invest in Muslim Women, All rights reserved.