CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Gold Star parents whose appearance at the Democratic National Convention created a firestorm for Donald Trump, say they felt compelled to speak out because the welcome they felt when they immigrated to the United States nearly four decades ago is eroding in the face of this year's presidential campaign.
Even the decision to wear a hijab, the traditional head scarf worn by some Muslim women including Ghazala Khan, has become the source of anxiety.
"You see people wearing scarves, people are pointing fingers at them and throwing them out of flights and calling them names when they pass by and all of that," Khizr Khan, 66, said on Capital Download. "Most Americans are against this kind of nonsense, but there is an element that has gotten voice, has been encouraged by this political rhetoric, and especially this election season has made it worse."
He says Trump's call to ban all Muslim immigrants — a position the Republican nominee has since modified — and his provocative statements against Mexicans and others bear some of the responsibility for a loss of civility and restraint. "The voices that wouldn't dare because they were afraid of the decent America to condemn them ... have gathered courage to show their ugliness," he told USA Today's weekly video newsmaker series.