In a recorded call this Sunday, Gold Star father Khizr Khan will urge half a million Muslim-Americans to vote in this year’s Presidential election.
Mr. Khan and his wife, Ghazala, were attacked by Donald Trump after rebuking his anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric at this past summer’s Democratic National Convention. Their son, Army Captain Humayun Khan, was killed protecting his unit in Iraq in 2004.
According to the WSJ, Mr. Khan’s activism — including his subsequent campaigning for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats — is part of “an unprecedented voter turnout operation in the Muslim community”:
There are at least 1 million Muslim voters in the U.S after a yearlong registration drive that signed up hundreds of thousands, the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations said on Wednesday.
Mosques and other Muslim institutions are organizing early-voting outings, distributing voter guides and incorporating get-out-the-vote appeals into traditional Friday services.
“Trump’s bigotry was a blessing in disguise,” said Zahid Bukhari, a leader of the Islamic Circle of North America, who joined about 100 people on Sunday for doughnuts and coffee at a Maryland mosque before voting early. “Those types of activities are going on everywhere.”
Muslims make up only about 1% of the U.S. population, according to the Pew Research Center. But the community is concentrated in several pivotal battlegrounds, including Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida. Nearly three out of four Muslim voters back Mrs. Clinton, while only 4% support Mr. Trump, according to a poll by the nonpartisan Council on American Islamic Relations released earlier this month.
The registration drive began in December, just days after Mr. Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the U.S. until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.” His statement in response to the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif., remains on his campaign website, though Mr. Trump now frames his national security policy as blocking immigrants from countries that export terrorism.
Muslim leaders credit Mr. Trump for activating a fast-growing community that has yet to build political clout as have the Jewish and Christian communities in the U.S.
Mr. Bukhari pointed to the second presidential debate, when a Muslim voter asked the candidates about Islamophobia, injecting the issue into the national conversation.
Mr. Trump called Islamophobia “a shame” but added, “We can be politically correct, but whether we like it or not, there is a problem.” Asked about his proposed ban on Muslim immigrants he said, “It is called extreme vetting…hundreds of thousands of people come in from Syria where we know nothing about them. We know nothing about their values and we know nothing about their love for our country.”
Mrs. Clinton, in response to the same question, said the U.S. is “not at war with Islam, and it is a mistake and it plays into the hands of the terrorists to act as though we are.”
A pro-Muslim political-action committee, Emerge PAC, is circulating a digital ad that opens with a television clips of Mr. Trump saying, “Islam hates us.”
A CAIR voter guide distributed around the country includes several of Mr. Trump’s disparaging comments about the Muslim community, including his claim that Muslims in New Jersey cheered the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mrs. Clinton receives praise in the voter guide for criticizing attacks on the Muslim community, but she is criticized for backing government surveillance programs and no-fly watch lists opposed by civil liberty groups.
CAIR conducted a robocall earlier this month urging 150,000 registered voters to go to the polls, and it plans to distribute Mr. Khan’s recorded call to 500,000 voters on Sunday.