Khizr to head Biden’s commission on religious freedom

Pakistan-born lawyer is a father of slain soldier

APP August 01, 2021
Khizr Khan addresses delegates on the fourth and final day of the Democratic National Convention at Wells Fargo Center on July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. PHOTO: AFP


US President Joe Biden has appointed Pakistani-American lawyer Khizr Khan – also a critic of ex-president Donald Trump and the father of a soldier slain in Baghdad – as the commissioner for the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The commission is mandated to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the president, the secretary of state and Congress.

Khan, 71, is a Pakistan-born lawyer who criticised Trump for his disparaging remarks against American Muslims during the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC).

Khan’s son, Humayun Khan, was an US Army captain killed in 2004 while serving in Iraq. He is buried at Arlington cemetery, Virginia, alongside so many other American war heroes, and was posthumously awarded top military medals – Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Read: Pakistani-American nominated to be part of Biden's economic team

Khizr Khan, 71, gave a passionate speech at the 2016 convention, along with his wife, Ghazala, in which he questioned whether Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, had ever read the Constitution. He had pulled his own copy out of his pocket for emphasis – and said Trump had “sacrificed nothing and no one.”

After that, Trump frequently lashed out at the Khans, which they shrugged off as “proof of his ignorance and arrogance.” At one point Trump suggested that Ghazala Khan did not speak during the DNC because of her Muslim faith. After his speech, Khizr Khan was featured in campaign ads for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, and his family’s story became a regular feature in her campaign speeches.

Khan, who was born in Gujranwala, works as a lawyer also founded the Constitution Literacy and National Unity Project. He immigrated to the United States in 1980. Biden also announced plans to nominate Rashad Hussain, an Indian-Muslim, of the National Security Council to be ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.


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