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Gold Star Father Khizr Khan Brings Message Of Civility And Unity To San Diego

November 2, 2017 1:49 p.m.

Gold Star Father Khizr Khan Brings Message Of Civility And Unity To San Diego

GUEST:

Khizr Khan, author, "An American Family"

Tammy Gilles, regional director, Anti-Defamation League

Related Story: Gold Star Father Khizr Khan Brings Message Of Civility And Unity To San Diego

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

This is KPBS Midday Edition I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. The American public first met Khizr Khan during the Democratic national convention last year. When he spoke out against Donald Trump's proposed ban on Muslim immigrants. And challenged his understanding of the U.S. Constitution.Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.Khizr Khan and his wife Ghazala are Gold Star parents. Their son a U.S. Army Captain was killed in Iraq in 2004. After Mr. Khan speech he was thrust into a ferocious political controversy that has not ended. He's written a book called "An American Family" about his family's pursuit of the American dream. He traveled to San Diego to be keynote speaker at the Anti-Defamation League's "No Place for Hate" Leadership Conference . Joining me is Khizr Khan. Welcome to the show.Thank you.Also joining me is Tammy Gillis she is the anti-definitional leagues regional director and welcome to your.Thank you.Mr. Khan it's been more than a year since she took the stage at the Democratic convention. How to that moment change her life and influence the work you are doing now?Well it changed in a very profound way. We were expecting that after we expressed our thoughts, we will simply as we were private citizens, we we just go back home. But that criticism indulged us in further conversation and then came more conversations. Various television interviews, newspaper interviews, all of those interviews and the conversation continued since then. About coming to San Diego to join my friends, my brothers and sisters here, had been the 163rd engagement to speak to various communities.Now the conversation as you say has continued until now. You called for respect for Gold Star families. Most recently during the controversy over the soldiers killed in the share. -- Niger. Wire these political footballs?I have this goal not only for Captain Humayun Khan. No family wishes to be called a gold star family. That this is our share and our luck. This is our destiny that we have to wear the Gold Star pain and we are called a gold star family. My fork -- my four brave hero sense died to protect us and keep us safe. Their families because of their sacrifice, are considered at the highest level of dignity of the family and the respect this country bestows upon such members of the family and because of their sacrifice and what they have done. Unfortunately, that was not extended. Utmost dignity should have been extended to these families. Especially the family of Sergeant led David Johnson. Our current President does not have that character trait of empathy, feeling empathetic towards the grief or suffering. We are shocked and saddened this country's tradition had not been followed. This country respects and extends dignity and privacy to the members of the families of those who have sacrificed everything.The way you speak about it, you seem to see all Gold Star families as one family.Yes. They are my families.I went to bring you into the conversation Tammy. What is the ADLs "No Place For Hate" campaign?This is an educational campaign we have in the San Diego schools. It's across the country. But the conference that Mr. Khan joined us out, we have 45 different schools represented. With the students, educators, administrators come together -- coming together to stand up against hate, bias, bigotry in the schools and communities.How do you see this fitting in with the message that Mr. Khan brings about American values?Mr. Khan is incredibly inspirational to all of us and especially to the young people. He talks to them about the Constitution. And what the values of America are. And the importance of coming together. It's a very meaningful, very timely and just incredibly important.What are you hoping to compass in San Diego schools?No surprise to anyone, there's a lot of bullying in the schools. Those incidences have gone up this past year and a half. And we need to go back to civility. We need to go back to treating each other with kindness. And we believe the young people want this. Every student deserves to go to a school that is safe and where they feel supported.Mr. Khizr Khan, we've just seen a terrorist incident in New York City. Apparently committed by a supporter of Isis. Do you fear resurgence of Islamaphobia? When there incidences like this and recent attacks in New York.That unfortunately is the case. Is because of lack of understanding. That when you begin to alienate communities. Such unfortunate attacks and an element begins to gain strength in the community. That is why I call part of my -- this journey of 163 community gatherings and speaking to those gatherings, a journey of bridge building trying to understand one another, so we can eradicate that settlement that finds fertile ground and begins to exploit the vulnerable's in the communities. Therefore we should all join hands instead of alienating one another.Why did you want to tell your personal story in this book, "An American Family" ParkSeveral reasons. One this may be a -- appear to bar story but it's every immigrant strike. The spirit of immigration is to make your life better. That is why this nation is a beacon of hope that the rest of the hope -- world. Not because we have open borders. Not at all. Because of our values. Our principles of equal dignity. Equal protection. Due process, rule of law. These are human dignities. Every person on the planet aspires to have them. We are so fortunate that we have them. And it is that reminder that I continue to share with everyone. It's obligatory that in democracy we must participate. Without participation, democracy weakens. Participate in democracy, vote -- it doesn't matter which candidate. Whether you agreed that you must participate. That is the message we are trying to convey.I have been speaking with Khizr Khan, author of the book "An American Family". And Tammy Gilles the amp today defamation league regional director. Thank you both very much.Thank you.Thank you.