WASHINGTON: The father of a US soldier of Pakistani origin provided one of emotional high points of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia when he repudiated Donald Trump‘s call to ban Muslims from entering America by citing the sacrifice his son made to defend the country’s ideals.In a moment of quiet dignity that was received with a rapturous ovation, Khizr Khan, whose son died in the Iraq War, pulled out a copy of the US Constitution from his pocket during a short speech endorsing Hillary Clinton, to ask Trump if he had ever read it. ”Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery?” he asked. ”Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one. We cannot solve our problems by building walls, sowing division.”

Humayun Khan, a captain in the U.S Army, died in a car bomb explosion in Baquba, Iraq, in June 2004, and is buried in the Arlington Cemetery. He was posthumously awarded Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and Hillary Clinton has often cited his case as an example of the loyalty and sacrifice immigrants bring to America.

The Khans came to the US in the 1970s, fleeing Zia-ul Haq’s Pakistan, a country that even today constitutionally practices the discrimination, bigotry, and nativism that Trump is accused of.”Like many immigrants, we came to this country empty-handed. We are blessed to raise our three sons in a nation where they were free to be themselves and follow their dreams. If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America,” Khizr Khan said.

Hillary Clinton has been repeatedly attacked by the right for her close association with Muslims, including her affection for Huma Abedin, a constant aide she treats like her daughter. Abedin, whose father is Indian and mother is Pakistani, is married to former Democratic lawmaker Anthony Weiner, who could be running for New York Mayorship against Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr.

Indeed, the pulsating diversity of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia stood in sharp contrast to the mostly-white GOP convention last week in Cleveland (a black-majority city), although there was token presence of Republican-supporting minorities.Among attendees at the Democratic convention was Indian-American Sruthi Palaniappan, a Harvard University student from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who at 18 was presented as the youngest delegate, and who represented her state during the roll call that put the nomination in Hillary Clinton’s hands.

 ”I am extremely thankful for the surreal opportunity to represent the Iowa delegation…to have been a part of the historic nomination process of our next president,” Sruthi, who is among scores of Indian-American delegates, wrote in a social media post. ”We have made history by electing the first woman presidential nominee of a major political party.”
The Democratic Convention also had a record number of LGBTQ attendees  (600 out of 4765 delegates; nearly 12 per cent), including Indian-Americans such as Mira Patel, like Hillary a Wellesley College graduate, and Gautam Raghavan. Both have served in the Obama White House.

The embrace of all races, colors, ethnicities, and even genders at the Democratic jamboree was underscored by ”All Gender Bathrooms” at the venue.

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