Feud over Dead Muslim Soldier Roils U.S. Presidential Campaign

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The race for the White House was dominated Monday by the battle of words between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Khizr Khan — the father of a Muslim-American soldier killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004.

The two have been exchanging daily verbal broadsides since Thursday at the Democratic National Convention, where Khan cited his son’s service to counter Trump’s proposal to restrict Muslim immigration to the U.S. In what has become the most enduring image from the four-day extravaganza, Khan held up a copy of the U.S. Constitution and challenged Trump to read it.

Khan, who is from Pakistan, was asked during an interview Monday with VOA’s Urdu service whether he thought anything useful will come from his feud with Trump.

“It really has come out, It really really has come out that a significant larger number of Republicans are asking him to tone down, change those derogatory remarks about minorities, not only just Muslims but other minorities,” Khan said.

The attitudes of people who disparage Muslims and others, Khan said, “can only be conquered by setting good examples, being a good citizen of this country. Then, they will begin to realize that there’s no difference between them and us.”

Khan said he is worried about the consequences if Trump becomes commander-in-chief of the U.S. military, and wondered whether U.S. forces would follow Trump’s commands.

Khan’s wife, Ghazala, stood silently while her husband spoke at the convention, prompting Trump to intimate that she was not allowed to speak because she is a Muslim woman.

Speaking in Urdu, Ghazala Khan said Islam teaches that husbands and wives are equal and that her husband said everything for the both of them. She has said in other interviews that she is emotionally overwhelmed when thinking about her dead son.

Trump’s continued belittling of the Khans has been denounced by President Barack Obama, leading Republican Party members, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a group called Gold Star Mothers, which represents women who have lost a son or daughter in battle.

Trump and his running mate Mike Pence have called Humayon Khan — killed while facing down a suicide bomber in Iraq — a hero.

But Trump wrote in a Twitter post Monday that this debate is not about  Khizr Khan, but about “radical Islamic terrorism.”

“Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over TV doing the same — Nice!”  he tweeted.

Trump also told a town hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio, that the entire electoral process is corrupt and that he fears the November election “is going to be rigged.”

Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, made no mention of the Khan controversy during her campaign appearance Monday in Omaha, Nebraska. She focused instead on the economy.

She said special interests and big money are paralyzing the U.S. Congress and that anyone willing to work hard deserves a job that pays enough to raise a family.

She challenged Trump and his financial and industrial empire to manufacture things in the U.S. instead of using factories overseas.

A spate of new polls shows that Clinton has regained her lead since the Democratic convention. A new CBS News survey shows her leading Trump 46 to 39 percent in voter preference while a CNN poll gives her a 52 to 43 percent lead.

Trump enjoyed a small advantage in the polls after the Republican convention in mid-July.

Source: Voice of Nigeria


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