Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is shamefully exploiting and promoting stereotypes of Islam and women by attacking Ghazala Khan, the American Muslim mother of Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004 while serving our nation.
In fact, Mrs. Khan said she remained silent on the DNC stage as her husband spoke for Hillary Clinton because it was too painful for her to speak of her son’s loss on such a public stage. However, she has since spoken out strongly in defense of her son’s service and of the right of Muslim women to speak out on any issue.
Since the controversy broke in the media, Trump has tripled down on his smears of the Khan family. One of his advisers even retweeted an attack on Mr. Khan from a notorious anti-Muslim hate site.
As a Muslim woman, and as the leader of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, I reject the Islamophobia and stereotyping that underlie Trump’s false implications and smears. A 2009 Gallup poll found that American Muslim women are the second most highly educated group of religious women in the U.S. and are just as likely as American Muslim men to have a college degree or higher education. My parents taught me the Prophet Muhammad’s teaching that Muslims, both women and men, should pursue high levels of education and, inspired by this Islamic teaching, I worked hard to get into law school and went on to pursue a fulfilling legal career.
Trump has a long history of sexist comments and is no defender of women’s rights. He is as much anti-woman as he is anti-Muslim. Trump is a schoolyard bully. He seeks out the vulnerable points in any perceived opponent and goes for the throat — even if his victim is a Gold Star mother.
Trump’s attack does not reflect American values or traditions and makes many people believe he is temperamentally and psychologically unfit to serve as our nation’s Commander in Chief. It is absolutely disgraceful and disrespectful for Trump to use Islamophobia, bigotry and stereotypes to disparage grieving parents.
CAIR, the American Muslim community and patriotic Americans of all faiths and backgrounds are now calling on Trump to apologize for his shameful and divisive remarks. A social-media campaign, #CanYouHearUsNow, is encouraging Muslim women and activists to tweet at Trump about who they are and how they speak out.
Unfortunately, I do not believe that Trump will apologize for this latest eruption of bigotry. It is not in his nature to apologize — for this or for any of the hate-filled statements he has made in the past year. Thus far, Trump has paid little or no political price for his sexism and bigotry. Perhaps his immunity to personal accountability is now at an end.