ECLECTIC RANT: Donald Trump, the Muslim Basher

Ralph E. Stone
Thursday August 04, 2016 - 11:39:00 AM

On the final night of the Democratic National Convention, Khizr Khan, whose Muslim-American son, Army Captain Humayun Khan, 27, died from a suicide bombing in Baghdad in 2004, delivered a passionate appeal for voters to support Hillary Clinton, and accused Donald Trump of sacrificing “nothing” and “smearing the character” of religious minorities like his family. The Khans, a Muslim family, immigrated to the United States from the United Arab Emirates. 

Here are parts of Mr. Khan’s powerful remarks: 

“If it was up to Donald Trump [Humayun] never would have been in America,” Khan said. “Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from his country.” 

“You are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.” [He then pulled a copy of the Constitution from his pocket.] “In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law.’” 

“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.” 

Unlike competitors CNN and MSNBC, Fox News only showed Khan’s speech for two minutes without audio, in a small window at the bottom of the screen. Instead the network aired commercials, including a Benghazi-themed attack ad against Clinton. 

In an interview with ABC News, this is how Trump reacted to Mr. Khan’s remarks: 

“If you look at his wife, she was standing there, she had nothing to say. Probably maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me, but plenty of people have written that. She was extremely quiet and it looked like she had nothing to say.” 

The implication of Trump’s remark is that Ghazala Khan had not spoken because women are subservient in traditional Islam. 

Mrs. Khan is certainly “allowed” to speak. She did so on MSNBC, and explained that she couldn’t speak at the DNC because talking about her son just gets her far too emotional. 

Trump even suggested that Clinton wrote the speech. Mr. Khan responded that he and his wife had worked on the speech together. 

In response to Khan’s accusation that Trump sacrificed “nothing,” he said: “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, ten of thousands of jobs” And he added that he donated to help the building of a Vietnam memorial in New York. 

Trump’s comments on Mr. Khan’s speech comes on the heels of his past anti-Muslim comments such as he would consider requiring Muslim-Americans to register with a government database, or worse, mandating that they carry special identification cards that note their faith. This echoes what the Nazis had imposed on Jews. Trump also said he was open to wholesale surveillance of Muslim-Americans and warrantless searches of mosques. And he was open to shutting down American mosques, noting he’d have “absolutely no choice” if “some bad things happen” in a mosque. He did back-pedal on his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. 

Unfortunately, Trump’s Muslim-bashing plays well with voters. In fact, according to polling data released by the Public Religion Research Institute, a majority (56 percent) of Americans say Islamic values are at odds with American values. 

The dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims (Islamophobia) is already alive and well in the United States. The aftermath of September 11, 2001 terrorist attack and the ISIS directed and inspired attacks around the world, have given rise to a growing Islamophobia in this country and is only fueled by Trump’s Muslim-bashing; it is like throwing gasoline on a smoldering fire. 

Muslim-bashing is just more of Trump’s divisive style and embrace of white resentment politics and has no place on the campaign trail.