An emotional response. Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump slammed Ghazala Khan for staying silent during her husband Khizr Khan’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, she hit back with a heartbreaking op-ed published by The Washington Post on Sunday, July 31.
After Khizr said the Republican presidential nominee, 70, “sacrificed nothing” for his country at last week’s DNC, Trump defended himself in an interview with ABC News, saying he had employed “thousands and thousands of people.” The businessman also accused Ghazala, whose U.S. soldier son was killed while serving in Iraq in 2004, of not speaking because she was forbidden to as a Muslim.
“Donald Trump has asked why I did not speak at the Democratic convention,” she wrote in a powerful new essay on Sunday morning. “He said he would like to hear from me. Here is my answer to Donald Trump: Because without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain. I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart.”
Ghazala continued: “Donald Trump said I had nothing to say. I do. My son Humayun Khan, an Army captain, died 12 years ago in Iraq. He loved America, where we moved when he was 2 years old. He had volunteered to help his country, signing up for the ROTC at the University of Virginia. This was before the attack of Sept. 11, 2001. He didn’t have to do this, but he wanted to.”
Throughout her letter, the bereaved mom explained how she and Khizr were worried about their son’s safety after he was sent to Iraq. She also recalled the last time she spoke to Humayun in May 2004, on Mother’s Day.
“We had asked him to call us collect whenever he could,” Ghazala wrote. “I begged him to be safe. I asked him to stay back, and not to go running around trying to become a hero, because I knew he would do something like that.”
That same year, Humayun was killed by a car bomber while trying to save his fellow soldiers and local civilians.
Ghazala continued: “Humayun is my middle son, and the others are doing so well, but every day I feel the pain of his loss. It has been 12 years, but you know hearts of pain can never heal as long as we live. Just talking about it is hard for me all the time. Every day, whenever I pray, I have to pray for him, and I cry. The place that emptied will always be empty.… Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could? Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?”
“Donald Trump said that maybe I wasn’t allowed to say anything,” she added. “That is not true. My husband asked me if I wanted to speak, but I told him I could not. My religion teaches me that all human beings are equal in God’s eyes. Husband and wife are part of each other; you should love and respect each other so you can take care of the family. When Donald Trump is talking about Islam, he is ignorant. If he studied the real Islam and Koran, all the ideas he gets from terrorists would change, because terrorism is a different religion. Donald Trump said he has made a lot of sacrifices. He doesn’t know what the word sacrifice means.”
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