Khzir Khan encourages patriotism, unity in Englert lecture  

Khzir Khan, the Pakistani-American father of late soldier Humayan Khan, who gained fame when he spoke at the 2016 DNC, spoke at the Englert Monday night.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by James

Khizr Khan poses for a portrait immediately after his speech at The Englert Theater on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. When asked Khan stated that his most meaningful parts of the Bill of Rights, to him, were the 1st Amendment and Section 1 of the 14th Amendment. (James Year/The Daily Iowan)

Khzir Khan, the Pakistani-American father of late Army Capt. Humayun Khan, spoke at the Englert Monday night about his experiences and his love of democracy. He stressed the need to remain true to the Constitution.

Khan and wife Ghazala gained international attention when he spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, giving testimony about his son. During his speech, he held up his pocket Constitution and offered it for Donald Trump to read.

The Pakistani-American lawyer spoke at the Englert as a part of a continuing lecture series, The Green Room. Khan was welcomed to the Englert podium with a standing ovation from the filled theater, and he launched into his story.

“My love affair with the U.S. Constitution started in 1972, when I was in law school in Pakistan,” he said. “The very first word of that love affair was the Declaration of Independence … I thought, ‘Are there people in this mankind, that declare independence?’ ”

He and his wife immigrated to the United States in 1980 and became citizens in 1986. Khan went on to work for Hogan & Hartson, one of the country’s largest lobbying law firms.

The Khans’ son, Humayun, served in the Iraq War as a captain in the U.S. Army. He was killed in an explosion in Bakubah, Iraq, in 2004, and posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

After speaking at the convention, the Khan family hoped to resume their daily lives but instead found themselves being asked to make appearances all over the country. Khzir Khan said his speech in Iowa City was his 156th appearance.

“The reason I do this is first, I have not forgotten those little kids,” he said. “I tell them this as well: Every place I go there are patriots, there are decent Americans.”

Although Trump won the presidency instead of Hillary Clinton, who Khan campaigned for, he said he remains hopeful.

“We have all been placed in this moment of difficulty,” he said. “Maybe this is our time to come together to support one another. We may disagree politically … but we are all for our Bill of Rights, we are all for our Declaration of Independence.”

Khan also recounts his experience in his new book, An American Family, set to release Oct. 24.

Khan’s lecture was sponsored by the Cassandra S. Foens M.D. Endowment Fund. The University of Iowa graduate’s contribution has made one speaker a year possible for the last 10 years.

“I admire his calmness,” Foens said. “I think that’s his point, and I think that he’s absolutely right. That what we’ve lost in this society is civil discourse, the ability to talk to each other and not at each other … I’m pleased to have a small part in bringing him here.”

Freshman Aastha Chandra came to the lecture to hear Khan’s point of view.

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