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PHILADELPHIA — U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan’s infantry unit was guarding the gates to their base in Iraq 12 years ago when a suspicious vehicle approached. Khan, a Muslim-American soldier, took 10 steps toward the car before it exploded, killing him.
Khan’s sacrifice, posthumously awarded with a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, was on full display at the fourth and final night of the Democratic National Convention.
“Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son, ‘the best of America,'” Khizr Khan, Humayun Khan's father, said before a packed Wells Fargo Center Thursday night. “If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America.”
“We can’t solve our problems by building walls and sowing division."
A video featuring a speech on national security that Clinton gave in December in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was played right before the 27-year-old captain’s father addressed delegates and attendees — an address that occurred at the same time Trump was in Iowa complaining about America not being allowed to waterboard terrorists.
Khan’s speech fit squarely with the evening’s theme — that America is best when everyone works together to solve the country’s problems.
It was also a message Khan hammered home when, standing next to his wife on stage, he took out a copy of the Constitution and held it in the air.
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“Let me ask you," Khan said, addressing Trump, as delegates and attendees cheered, "Have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law.’”
He continued, "Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities.You have sacrificed nothing and no one."
Khan’s words resonated with Asian-American delegates, including Muslim Americans, on the convention floor.
Emad Salem, a Clinton delegate from Texas, told NBC News he was glad that the Democratic party recognized the Muslim community by asking Khan to speak.
“We also want the other side to know that Muslims are part of the fabric of America and that they are dying for the safety and security of Americans,” said Salem, referring to Republicans. “They are committed Americans.”
Ravinder Lakhian, a Sikh American and Clinton delegate from California, said Kahn’s being asked to speak was a bright sign for the Democratic Party and for the country.
“It shows that American Muslims are also part of the sacrifice,” he told NBC News.
The Muslim community has been in the spotlight this election season after Trump suggested a plan in December to ban Muslims entering the country.
During his nomination acceptance speech last week, Trump said, “We must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place."
But Khan had his own message for Trump:
“We can’t solve our problems by building walls and sowing division,” he said. “We are stronger together. And we will keep getting stronger when Hillary Clinton becomes our next president.”