Daily Video

August 2, 2016

Trump criticized for response to Muslim military family

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Essential question

Why is it important to be open to criticism as a leader?


Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is being roundly criticized for his response to a speech given at the Democratic National Convention last week by the parents of Army Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim American soldier killed in the Iraq War.

During his televised address that later went viral online, Khizr Khan said Trump should not talk about banning Muslims from entering the country and challenged his knowledge of the United States Constitution.

“Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery?” Khan said, addressing Trump. “Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”

Trump responded soon after on Twitter and in interviews over the weekend. He questioned why Khizr Khan’s wife, Ghazala, stood beside her husband but didn’t speak. Trump also said he has also made “a lot of sacrifices” by working hard and creating jobs.

The Republican candidate’s comments prompted rebuke from a number of Republicans and Democrats. Republican Sen. John McCain, himself a veteran, said Trump’s nomination does not allow him “unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.”

Khizr Khan said Monday that his family has received an outpouring of support and condolences for the loss of his son since his speech. The Khan family is referred to as a Gold Star family because they have lost an immediate family member during a period of war in the cause of freedom.

“It has just been amazing to all over again see the goodness of this society, goodness of this country,” he said.


Key terms

V.F.W.— Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States; a society made up of veterans of the U.S. armed forces who have served overseas during wartime

sharia—religious laws based on the Koran that some Muslims follow

Warm up questions (before watching the video)
  1. What do you know about Khizr Khan’s speech at the Democratic National Convention?
  2. What is a Gold Star family?
  3. Does your school teach about the world’s religions? How does religion intersect with history and world culture?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. Why do you think the speech at the Democratic convention and comments made afterwards by Khizr and Ghazala Khan have received such attention?
  2. How do you think Trump should have responded to criticism from the Khan family?
  3. Do you think it is significant that Republicans and veterans’ groups like the V.F.W. have spoken out in support of the Khan family? Explain.
  4. Do you think Donald Trump’s comments will hurt him in the general election? Explain.
  5. What should you do if you hear someone make a comment that stereotypes a religion?
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