This post originally appeared on AddictingInfo.org.
This is, by far, the best response to Donald Trump’s Islamophobia.
On June 8, 2004, Captain Humayun S. M. Khan was serving a tour of duty in Iraq with the 201st Forward Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division at a road checkpoint when a vehicle with two men inside approached. Khan yelled for his squad to “hit the dirt” after the driver failed to comply with his demand to stop. Khan continued to walk toward the vehicle as his brothers-in-arms followed his orders. Then the vehicle exploded, killing Kahn.
On that day, Kahn sacrificed his life for the American soldiers under his command. For his bravery and sacrifice, he was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart and buried with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place of hundreds of thousands of other men and women who have given their lives for this country since the Civil War.
Khan was born in the United Arab Emirates to Pakistani parents and moved to the United States at the age of two, where the family settled in Virginia. They moved here because they respected American values and wanted to be a part of the land of the free.
But ever since the San Bernardino mass shooting earlier this month, Donald Trump and conservatives have been calling for banning Muslim immigrants from entering this country, an idea that horrifies Khan’s father, Khizr Khan.
In response to Trump, Khizr told Vocativ that the billionaire Republican front-runner does not represent the American values that inspired his family to move to the United States back in the 1970s.
“Muslims are American, Muslims are citizens, Muslims participat[e] in the well-being of this country as American citizens. We are proud American citizens. It’s the values [of this country] that brought us here, not our religion. Trump’s position on these issues do not represent those values.”
Those values, Khizr said, are what made his son put his life at risk for this country and his fellow soldiers.
“We still wonder what made him take those 10 steps [towards the car]. Maybe that’s the point where all the values, all the service to country, all the things he learned in this country kicked in. It was those values that made him take those 10 steps. Those 10 steps told us we did not make [a] mistake in moving to this country. These were the values we wanted to adopt. Not religious values, human values.”
The Khan family is proof that American values are not held exclusively by Christians. Even Muslims embody the American values that have made this country great.
And Captain Kahn isn’t the first, nor is he the last Muslim to fight and die for this country.
Muslims have proudly worn the military uniform and served under our flag since the American Revolution.
They fought for American independence, fought to end slavery during the Civil War, fought against the tyranny of fascism during World War II, fought in the jungles of Vietnam to stop communism, and continue to fight in the present day against terrorism. Those who have given their lives for these causes are buried in cemeteries throughout our nation. Many, like Khan, rest in Arlington under gravestones marked with the Crescent and Star representing the Islamic faith. And they are no more or less American then the other heroes they are buried among.
Muslims do not come here to convert America into an Islamic state. They come here seeking opportunity and freedom and basic human rights. Calling for banning all Muslims simply because of the actions of a few is like calling for banning all Christian white guys every time a Robert Lewis Dear targets a Planned Parenthood or every time a Dylann Roof walks into a church to kill worshipers or every time a Timothy McVeigh blows up a building.
And Khan embodies the American value of sacrifice and leadership more than Donald Trump does. Unlike Trump, Khan loved his country enough to defend it with his life. Trump, meanwhile, has never served in the military a day in his life and dodged the draft on multiple occasions during the Vietnam War. Khan had been in the Army for four years and should have been home a month earlier. But because the military lacked manpower, Khan was assigned to Iraq indefinitely.
According to Khan’s obituary:
“His colleagues and superiors remembered him for his courage, honesty, sense of humor and grace while in the field, even under pressure. Captain Khan’s colleagues eulogized his exemplary services and praised him for the leadership he provided to his troops.”
Trump will be remembered as a wealthy racist who declined to fight for his country so that he could stay at home and destroy it from within.
Khan was the true patriot that Trumps only pretends to be.
So, the next time Donald Trump, or any Republican for that matter, even thinks about demonizing all Muslims after a barbaric act committed by an extremist, they should look at this picture and see who else they are disrespecting with their hateful vitriol.
War and Peace
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