Humayun Khan (soldier)

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Humayun Khan
Humayun Khan.jpg
Born(1976-09-09)9 September 1976
Died8 June 2004(2004-06-08) (aged 27)
Cause of deathCar bombing
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Arlington Co., Virginia, US
Alma materUniversity of Virginia (2000)
Parent(s)Khizr and Ghazala Khan
Military career
BranchUnited States Army
Unit1st Infantry Division
ConflictIraqi insurgency

Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan (9 September 1976 – 8 June 2004) was a United States Army officer who was killed by a suicide attack near Baqubah, Iraq during the Iraq War. He came to national attention in the United States during the 2016 presidential campaign as an example of a Muslim American soldier who sacrificed his life for his country.

Born in the United Arab Emirates to Pakistani parents, Khan moved to the U.S. with his family as a young boy. He attended the University of Virginia as a member of the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps. Upon graduating in 2000, Khan was commissioned as a second lieutenant and entered active-duty service. By 2004, he had been promoted to captain and deployed with his unit for the Iraq War. On June 8, 2004, he was killed in a suicide attack and posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal. During the 2016 Democratic National Convention, his parents stood at the lectern and delivered a speech condemning then-U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's statements on Muslims.

Personal life[edit]

On 9 September 1976, Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan[1] was born in Dubai to Khizr and Ghazala Khan,[2] who originate from Punjab, Pakistan.[3] They moved to the United States in 1980 and Humayun grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland.[2] As a young child, Khan read extensively about Thomas Jefferson. In high school, he taught swimming to disabled children.[4] Khan graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 1996, and the University of Virginia in 2000.[5] At the University of Virginia, Khan joined the university's Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps.[6]


Khan joined the United States Army and had planned on becoming a military lawyer.[5] According to his father, one of his personal heroes was Arizona senator and former prisoner of war John McCain.[7] Khan achieved the rank of captain.[5] In 2004, Khan was assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 201st Forward Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division in Vilseck, Germany.[3]

On 8 June 2004, 120 days[2] into his tour of duty in Iraq,[3] Khan was inspecting a guard post near Baqubah when a suspicious taxicab began approaching quickly. Ordering his subordinates away, Khan ran toward the vehicle and was killed when the bomb in it exploded.[3][4][5] The car detonated before it could reach the installation gates or the nearby mess hall where hundreds of soldiers were eating.[4] The blast also killed the two occupants of the vehicle and two Iraqi bystanders.[8]

Khan's grave at Arlington National Cemetery bears the star and crescent, one of the official United States Department of Veterans Affairs emblems for headstones and markers, representing Muslim servicemembers.

On 15 June, Khan was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[8] His grave became a frequent destination for visitors to Arlington National Cemetery, who left flowers, US flags, and letters of support.[9]


The first University of Virginia graduate to die in combat since the Vietnam War, Khan was honored by two university ceremonies.[6] Khan was also posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.[3] Khan was also honored by the Virginia General Assembly, which passed a resolution noting "with great sadness the loss of a courageous and patriotic American."[5] In December 2015, Hillary Clinton, a presidential candidate in the 2016 United States presidential election, spoke about Khan's service praising him as "the best of America".[10][11] In 2018, Representative Tom Garrett introduced a bill that would name a Charlottesville, Virginia post office after Khan. Both houses of the 115th United States Congress unanimously passed the bill, and President Trump signed it into law on 21 December 2018. A joint statement by the senators from Virginia Tim Kaine and Mark Warner said, "With the dedication of [the Captain Humayun Khan Post Office], we're showing the Khan family that we're forever grateful for his service and sacrifice for our country".[12] The post office was officially renamed on 9 September 2019 during a ceremony attended by Kaine and other politicians.[13]

2016 Democratic National Convention[edit]

Khizr Khan's remarks during the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Khan's parents appeared at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, where his father, Khizr Khan, spoke of his dead son and rebuked the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, for his statements about Muslims and his proposed policies concerning them.[14][15][16][17] Trump criticized the appearance of Khan's parents at the Democratic Convention, and suggested that Khan's mother may not have been allowed to speak. Trump's comments about Khan's mother, Ghazala, sparked widespread condemnation[18][19][20][21][22] and triggered her response as an op-ed in The Washington Post. On 31 July 2016, Ghazala Khan expressed her thoughts and said she had been too overcome by emotion at the convention to speak at the podium. She wrote, "Donald Trump said I had nothing to say. I do. My son Humayun Khan, an Army captain, died 12 years ago in Iraq. He loved America ..."[23]

Republican leaders Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Trump's comments. A strong rebuke came from US Senator John McCain from Arizona; the former presidential candidate said that Trump did not represent the ideals of the Republican Party and its leaders.[24] Veterans of Foreign Wars followed with a statement saying, "Election year or not, the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression."[25]

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's online magazine Dabiq published a picture of Humayun Khan's headstone with the caption "Beware of Dying as an apostate" and urged its followers to "[r]eject these calls to disunity and come together."[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tapper, Jake [@jaketapper] (28 July 2016). "Army Captain Humayun Khan, 27, was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in June 2004. RIP" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 30 July 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2021 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b c Kleinfield, N. R.; Oppel Jr., Richard A.; Eddy, Melissa (5 August 2016). "Moment in Convention Glare Shakes Up Khans' American Life". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2021. How Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents of a soldier killed in Iraq, came to challenge Donald J. Trump and reshape a presidential campaign.
  3. ^ a b c d e McBride, Jessica (28 July 2016). "Captain Humayun Khan: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy. Archived from the original on 30 July 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2021. Although he was born in The United Arab Emirates, Humayun Khan was of Pakistani heritage.
  4. ^ a b c McCrummen, Stephanie (22 March 2005). "Looking for Logic Amid the Pain". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 2269358. Archived from the original on 11 August 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2017. Grieving Father Struggles to Understand
  5. ^ a b c d e "House Joint Resolution No. 780" (PDF). Virginia's Legislative Information System. Richmond, Virginia: Virginia General Assembly. 27 January 2005. Archived from the original on 30 July 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  6. ^ a b Kelly, Matt (24 September 2004). "U.Va.'s ROTC Divisions Pay Tribute to Fallen Comrade". University of Virginia. Archived from the original on 17 September 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  7. ^ Moody, Chris (3 August 2016). "Khizr Khan: John McCain was my son's 'hero'". CNN. Archived from the original on 4 August 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  8. ^ a b Clock, Michele (16 June 2004). "A 'Peacemaker' Is Laid to Rest". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286.
  9. ^ Fandos, Nicholas (12 September 2016). "A New Gathering Spot at Arlington: Capt. Humayun Khan's Grave". The New York Times. Arlington, Virginia. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Archived from the original on 12 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  10. ^ Timsit, Annabelle (29 July 2016). "Seven Minutes That Shook the Convention". Politico. Arlington County, Virginia. Archived from the original on 30 July 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2016. How the father of a slain Muslim U.S. soldier shamed Donald Trump, upstaged Hillary Clinton and gave the country a lesson in values.
  11. ^ "Hillary Clinton shuts down Trump with touching tribute to US Muslim war hero". The Express Tribune. Karachi, Pakistan: Lakson Group. 21 December 2015. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  12. ^ Watkins, Eli (24 December 2018). "Trump signs bill naming post office for Capt. Humayun Khan". CNN. Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  13. ^ Smith, Ruth Serven (9 September 2019). "'For all': Khan's service memorialized with post office renaming". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  14. ^ Qiu, Linda. "The backstory of the Muslim soldier's dad who said Trump 'sacrificed nothing'". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on 29 July 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  15. ^ Swaine, Jon; Gambino, Lauren (1 August 2016). "Donald Trump has 'black soul', says Khizr Khan, father of fallen Muslim US soldier". The Guardian. Kings Place. ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Archived from the original on 1 August 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  16. ^ Bradner, Eric (31 July 2016). "Khizr Khan: Trump has a 'black soul'". CNN Center: CNN. Archived from the original on 31 July 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  17. ^ Abramson, Alana; Phelps, Jordyn (1 August 2016). "John McCain Strongly Condemns Trump's Attacks on Khizr Khan, Joining Other Republicans". ABC News. Archived from the original on 1 August 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  18. ^ DelReal, Jose A.; Gearan, Anne (30 July 2016). "Trump stirs outrage after he lashes out at the Muslim parents of a dead U.S. soldier". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286.
  19. ^ "Fury as Trump mocks Muslim soldier's mother Ghazala Khan". Broadcasting House: BBC News. 31 July 2016. Archived from the original on 31 July 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has attracted outrage by mocking a dead US Muslim soldier's mother.
  20. ^ "Trump criticized for comments on Muslim mother of fallen US soldier". Fox News Channel. 30 July 2016. Archived from the original on 31 July 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  21. ^ Haberman, Maggie; Oppel Jr., Richard A. (30 July 2016). "Donald Trump Criticizes Muslim Family of Slain U.S. Soldier, Drawing Ire". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Archived from the original on 30 July 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  22. ^ Karabell, Zachary (1 August 2016). "'Have You No Sense of Decency, Mr. Trump?'". Politico. Archived from the original on 1 August 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2018. Why the GOP nominee’s criticism of a Gold Star family could be a McCarthy-like turning point.
  23. ^ Khan, Ghazala (31 July 2016). "Ghazala Khan: Trump criticized my silence. He knows nothing about true sacrifice". The Washington Post. Charlottesville. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 2269358. Archived from the original on 7 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018. Ghazala Khan’s son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq in 2004.
  24. ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer (1 August 2016). "John McCain Denounces Donald Trump's Comments on Family of Muslim Soldier". The New York Times. Washington, D.C. ISSN 1553-8095. OCLC 1645522. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  25. ^ Ornitz, Jill (1 August 2016). "Veterans group chastises Trump for attacks on fallen soldier's parents". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 2165-1736. OCLC 3638237. Archived from the original on 2 August 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  26. ^ Browning, Noah (31 July 2016). "Islamic State calls slain Muslim American soldier an 'apostate'". Dubai. Reuters. Archived from the original on 31 July 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2018.