Father of Muslim-American soldier continues speaking out on Trump’s immigration policies

April 20, 2017 GMT

Since he blazed into the nation’s consciousness last summer by shaking his finger and a copy of the Constitution at then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his anti-immigrant rhetoric on the campaign trail, Khizr Khan has continued to speak out against now-President Trump’s immigration policies.

“When the leadership is so divisive by its announcements, by its policies, what can you do as an ordinary, law-abiding citizen? You continue to speak,” Khan said Thursday before an appearance at Duke University’s Trent Seamans Center.

Khan first rose to prominence at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last July, when he and his wife took the stage to talk about their son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who died in Iraq in 2004 and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his military service. Many Muslim-Americans have sacrificed for their country, Khizr Khan said, yet Trump wanted to ban Muslim immigrants from the U.S.

The Pakistani-born lawyer has spoken publicly more than 100 times since then, saying he believes he has a duty to keep fighting against what he sees as anti-democratic policies.

“We need to reconcile. We need to come together. That is the role of the leader that is lacking, that is missing. That concerns me,” he said. “It’s the ignorance that divides us.”

On Wednesday, Khan filed a court brief in support of a federal judge’s ruling to block enforcement of the Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban. Even though he’s been a U.S. citizen since 1988, he’s afraid to travel out of the country.

“I was advised by experts that, up until those provisions are sorted out, you should refrain from traveling,” he said.

Sometimes parents teach children, and sometimes it’s the other way around, Khan said, noting that his son’s bravery, patriotism and commitment to the U.S. continues to give him the strength to speak out about injustice, even if it means negative backlash.

“It is through his grace that we continue to get strength, continue to speak,” he said. “Even to the last breath, he was protecting, he was being honorable.”