Last week, Ghazala Khan joined her husband, Khizr, onstage as he gave a powerful speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The bereaved parents of Army Captain Humayun Khan spoke about their son's love of country and his sacrifice in Iraq. They also slammed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's offensive remarks about Muslim-Americans. Trump decided to respond to the speech by mocking the writer and questioning whether Ghazala Khan hadn’t spoken on the stage because, as a Muslim woman, her husband wouldn’t permit her to speak in public. "If you look at his wife, she was standing there," he told ABC News. "She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say." On Sunday, Ghazala Khan fired back — saying, in part, "Donald Trump said he has made a lot of sacrifices. He doesn’t know what the word sacrifice means." In a Washington Post op-ed entitled, "Trump criticized my silence. He knows nothing about true sacrifice," Khan wrote that she did, in fact, have something to say. She shared the story of her son, Humayun, and spoke about life as a Gold Star mother. But most importantly, she shared why she was silent on stage. "I cannot walk into a room with pictures of Humayun. For all these years, I haven’t been able to clean the closet where his things are — I had to ask my daughter-in-law to do it. Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself," she wrote. "What mother could? Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?"
She also addressed Trump's assertion that it was her practice of Islam that prevented her from speaking. Kahn wrote, "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."
Both Democrats and Republicans have responded to Trump's attack on the Khan family with anger. Ohio Gov. John Kasich said on Twitter, "There's only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honour and respect." He added, "Capt. Khan is a hero. Together, we should pray for his family."
There's only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect. Capt. Khan is a hero. Together, we should pray for his family.— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) July 31, 2016
Peter Wehner, a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, wrote on Twitter. “Memo to Trump supporters: He’s a man of sadistic cruelty. With him there’s no bottom. Now go ahead & defend him.”
On Sunday, Khizr Khan told NBC's Meet The Press that "we have a candidate without a moral compass, without empathy for its citizens." Trump issued a statement that called Captain Humayun Khan "a hero to our country," according to The New York Times. But Trumps statement also said, "While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan, who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things."
I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention. Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2016
Trump also took to Twitter to say, "I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention. Am I not allowed to respond?" In an interview with The New York Times, Khizr Khan said that his wife had helped him write his convention speech and told him to remove some of the harsher attacks he wanted to make against Trump. “I also wanted to talk about how he’s had three wives, and yet he talks about others’ ethics and their religion,” Khan said. “She said, ‘Don’t go to his level. We are paying tribute to our son.’”