When Khizr Khan stood onstage with his wife Ghazala Khan at the Democratic National Convention and spoke about their late son who died in the line of duty, it was clear how deeply painful it was to talk about him, even 12 years later. Khan's emotional speech drew the ire of Donald Trump, whom Khan criticized for his proposed Muslim ban.
"If it was up to Donald Trump, [my son] never would have been in America," Khan thundered. "Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities; women; judges; even his own party leadership."
Trump's indignant response to Khan ignited a feud that was widely lambasted by many people, including the Republican leadership. Many denounced the GOP nominee for attacking a Gold Star family. True to form, Trump doubled down, even going so far as to say that their son, Capt. Humayun Khan, would have been alive if he were president at the time as a means of shoring up his disproven claim of opposing the Iraq War.
Now, in a deeply moving ad by Hillary Clinton's campaign, Khizr Khan again recounts his son's sacrifice — and asks Trump one poignant question that relates to his policy on Muslims.
"In 2004, my son was stationed in Iraq. He saw a suicide bomber approaching his camp. My son moved forward to stop the bomber when the bomb exploded. He saved everyone in his unit," he said. "My son was Capt. Humayun Khan; he was 27 years old. And he was a Muslim American. I want to ask Mr. Trump: 'Would my son have a place in your America?'"
The minute-long ad is a heart-wrenching depiction of how Trump's words affects groups that he routinely insults and ridicules: Muslims, women, Mexicans, and more. Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post wrote:
It's a remarkably powerful ad, connecting Trump's rhetoric on Muslims to the real pain that such a pledge would inflict on Muslim Americans.
Words carry heavy consequences, particularly when they serve to divide and alienate, and its impact is clearly seen in the way Khan repeatedly and resolutely challenges Trump for his. And by reliving the painful memory of his son's sacrifice so publicly, Khan has positioned himself as a powerful check against the nominee for his inflammatory remarks on Muslims in the U.S. and abroad.