The mother of an Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed by a suicide bomb in Iraq, blasted Donald Trump on Sunday — after the Republican presidential nominee said she had "nothing to say" about her son during the Democratic National Convention.
"Here is my answer to Donald Trump: Because without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain," Ghazala wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post, "I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart," she said, using the phrase for families who have lost soldiers.
Ghazala spoke of the sacrifice she made letting her son go to war for the US, and her and her husband's fear for his safety.
"I had already been through one war, in Pakistan in 1965, when I was just a high school student. So I was very scared," she wrote.
"You can sacrifice yourself, but you cannot take it that your kids will do this."
In 2004, Ghazala and Khizr's son, Humayun, told his fellow soldiers and nearby civilians to stand back while he went to investigate a suspicious car. The car was equipped with a bomb and exploded, killing Humayun but sparing those around him.
Khan explained that her husband had asked her to speak at the convention, but that she was far too upset and emotional to keep it together in front of a crowd.
"Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could?" Khan asked.
"Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?"
Khan also responded directly to Trump's insinuation that she was being oppressed by her religion, and that the reason she did not talk was because she was a Muslim woman.
My religion teaches me that all human beings are equal in God’s eyes. Husband and wife are part of each other; you should love and respect each other so you can take care of the family.
When Donald Trump is talking about Islam, he is ignorant. If he studied the real Islam and Koran, all the ideas he gets from terrorists would change, because terrorism is a different religion.
Donald Trump said he has made a lot of sacrifices. He doesn’t know what the word sacrifice means
In interviews with NBC and CNN Sunday, Khizr said that Trump had a total lack of empathy and a "black soul." He also discussed the outpouring of support he and his wife have received since the speech, from both sides of the aisle.
"He is a black soul, and this is totally unfit for the leadership of this country," Khan told CNN, referring to Trump's criticism of his wife's silence.
"The love and affection that we have received affirms that our grief — that our experience in this country has been correct and positive. The world is receiving us like we have never seen," Khizr said. "They have seen the blackness of his character, of his soul."
In his DNC speech on Thursday, Khizr held up a copy of the Constitution and said that Trump's policies on Muslim immigrants are "totally against the basic constitutional principles." He called upon GOP leaders to withdraw their support for the presidential candidate.
On Sunday, Khizr called Trump's criticisms of his family, "the height of ignorance."
"For this candidate for presidency to not be aware of the respect of a Gold Star mother standing there, and he had to take that shot at her, this is height of ignorance," Khan said. "This is why I showed him [the] Constitution. Had he read that, he would know the status a Gold Star mother holds in this nation."
Following Khizr's interviews, Trump tweeted that Khizr "viscously attacked" him. He called the Khans' son a hero, but added that "this is about RADICAL ISLAMIC TERROR." He did not elaborate upon what "this" was.
Trump's senior communications advisor, Jason Miller, later read a statement on CNN from Trump saying that Khizr had "no right" to suggest that Trump had not read the Constitution.
When questioned about the fact that Khizr, as a US citizen, does in fact have that right as protected by the Constitution, Miller said that Trump was not suggesting Khizr didn't have the right to freedom of speech.
"This is about radical Islamic terrorism, and the fact that the media doesn't want to pick up and cover these — supporters and survivors who have been hurt or killed by illegal aliens in this country," Miller said.
"What we're talking about here is radical Islamic terrorism and that's what's important."