Humayun Khan (soldier)
|Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan|
September 9, 1976|
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
June 8, 2004 (aged 27)|
Near Baqubah, Iraq
Arlington National Cemetery|
Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||2000–2004|
|Unit||1st Infantry Division|
Bronze Star Medal|
Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan (September 9, 1976 – June 8, 2004) was a United States Army officer. Born in the United Arab Emirates to Pakistani parents, he moved to the U.S. with his family as a young boy. He attended the University of Virginia, where he was a member of the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps. Upon graduating in 2000, Khan was commissioned an officer in the United States Army and was deployed as a captain to Iraq during the Iraq War. In 2004 he was killed in a suicide attack near Baqubah, Iraq, and was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
Khan's name came to national attention during the 2016 presidential campaign as an example of Muslim Americans serving in the military. At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, his father Khizr Khan, standing at the podium with his wife (and Humayun's mother) Ghazala, delivered a speech condemning U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's statements on Muslims.
Khan was born in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, to Khizr and Ghazala Khan, who originate from Punjab, Pakistan. They moved to the United States in 1980 and Humayun grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. As a young child, Khan read extensively about Thomas Jefferson. In high school, he taught swimming to disabled children. Khan graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 1996, and the University of Virginia in 2000. At the University of Virginia, Khan joined the university's Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps.
Khan joined the United States Army and had planned on becoming a military lawyer. According to his father, one of his personal "heroes" was Arizona senator and former prisoner of war John McCain. In the Army, Khan achieved the rank of captain. In 2004, Khan was assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 201st Forward Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division in Vilseck, Germany.
On June 8, 120 days into his tour of duty in Iraq, 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. The car detonated before it could reach the installation gates or the nearby mess hall where hundreds of soldiers were eating. The blast also killed the two occupants of the vehicle and two Iraqi bystanders.
On June 15, Khan was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. His grave became a frequent destination for visitors to Arlington National Cemetery, who left flowers, American flags, and letters of support.
The first University of Virginia graduate to die in combat since the Vietnam War, Khan was honored by two university ceremonies. Khan was also posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. 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." 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".
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. 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 and triggered her response as an op-ed in The Washington Post. On July 31, 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 ..."
Republican leaders Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have 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. 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."
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."
- Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan (1987–2007), an American soldier and Muslim whose service was discussed during the 2008 U.S. presidential election
- Military history of Pakistani Americans
- Muslims in the United States military
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Although he was born in The United Arab Emirates, Humayun Khan was of Pakistani heritage.
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Grieving Father Struggles to Understand
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How the father of a slain Muslim U.S. soldier shamed Donald Trump, upstaged Hillary Clinton and gave the country a lesson in values.
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