Khizr Khan and the American Dream

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +
Khizr Khan, the father of an American soldier who died in Iraq, delivered a speech about American democracy on Thursday at the Democratic National Convention. Hillary Clinton introduced Khizr Khan as an immigrant who came from the United Arab Emirates with his family, including his then 2-year-old son Humayun Khan, who would later serve in Iraq. At the DNC, Khizr Khan delivered a speech about his son’s service in Iraq.

Khizr Khan’s speech moved many at the DNC, as he represents an interesting combination of identities: He is Muslim, a father, and an immigrant, who came to the United States in search for a better life.

“Like many immigrants,” he stated, “we came to this country empty-handed. We believed in American democracy, that with hard work and goodness of this country we could share in and contribute to this country.”

Khan’s speech was quoted, lauded, and celebrated by democrats from all over the country. Here was a Muslim man, declaring unwavering support and love for a country responsible for the death of thousands, both within its borders and across the world. And yet, American Muslims and immigrants still have to declare their support for it.

The American political climate, especially post-9/11, has made it so that American Muslims have to persistently reiterate their patriotism to the United States to be trusted as Americans before they are Muslim. Perhaps one of the most patriotic things one can do is join a country’s military force, so it doesn’t surprise me that American Muslims are willing to engage in wars against Muslim countries to prove that they can be American while being Muslim.

It also doesn’t surprise me that Hillary Clinton would use this as a way to gain support in comparison to Donald Trump, who not only has built and sustained a campaign in spite of (or maybe because of) his hatred of marginalized identities.

Hillary Clinton, as she stated last night, is proud of the American military. So is Khizr Khan, an American Muslim immigrant. American Muslims, however, should be able to criticize the American military, American policies, and still be valued as American.

Khan’s speech painted a romantic picture of what a liberal United States could look like. Here he was, an immigrant, a Muslim, embracing America and all its flaws. Here was this young Muslim man, who lost his life protecting the life of other American soldiers who were engaging in one of the most painful military onslaughts of this generation. And, finally, here was the notion that together, all Americans, regardless of race, religion, background, could engage in the American project of inflicting violence on people outside its borders.

Khan stated, “Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son the best of America.” If the militarization of people against their communities across the world is the best of America, then I’ve never heard a truer statement.

Share.

About Author

Fatima Zehra is the Deputy Editor of Kajal Magazine. She owns too many red lipsticks. Bother her on Twitter @zebrazehra and Instagram @fatimazehral.

Leave A Reply