Khizr Khan cancels Toronto speech after ‘review’ of ‘travel privileges’: organizer
Khizr Khan, an American immigrant from Pakistan whose U.S. Army Captain son was killed in combat in Iraq, has cancelled a scheduled speech in Toronto after organizers say his “travel privileges are being reviewed.”
According to a statement from Ramsay Talks, Khan, who organizer Bob Ramsay dubbed “Donald Trump’s arch-foe,” decided to cancel the speaking event at The Carlu Tuesday after he was notified of the alleged travel issues. It was not immediately clear how Khan’s travel privileges were being reviewed specifically or by whom.
The focus of the talk was on “tolerance, understanding, unity and the rule of law,” in addition to what Canadians can do about the “appalling turn of events in Washington.”
“Very regretfully, Ramsay Talks must cancel its luncheon with Mr. Khan,” the organization said in a release. “Guests will be given full refunds.”
Ramsay Talks said Khan offered his “sincere apologies” for those who had planned to attend the event.
“This turn of events is not just of deep concern to me but to all my fellow Americans who cherish our freedom to travel abroad,” Khan said according to a statement released by the organization.
“I have not been given any reason as to why. I am grateful for your support and look forward to visiting Toronto in the near future.”
A spokesperson for U.S. Customs & Border Protection said in a statement the federal law enforcement agency “does not contact travelers in advance of their travel out of the United States.”
“Any U.S. citizen with a passport may travel without trusted traveler status. All individuals are subject to inspection departing or upon arrival to the United States,” the statement read.
“U.S. citizens are afforded protections under the privacy act and therefore we would not be able to discuss any specifics.”
A spokeswoman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said the ministry was “unaware of any restrictions” with regards to Khan.
“American citizens are not required to apply for either an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a temporary resident visa (visitor visa) to enter Canada,” Nancy Caron said in an emailed statement.
The Harvard University-trained lawyer, who has been an American citizen for 30 years, made international headlines after he spoke to the U.S. Democratic National Convention about the death of his son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun S. M. Khan, in July 2016.
Khan fiercely attacked the then-Republic nominee at the convention in Philadelphia and said that if it were up to Trump, his son never would have been American or served in the military. He also pulled a copy of the Constitution out of his suit pocket at the convention last year and offered to lend it to Trump.
Capt. Humayun Khan died in 2004 when a car loaded with explosives blew up at his compound. He was 27.
VIDEO: Father of U.S. Muslim soldier killed in Iraq blasts Donald Trump, offers him his copy of U.S. constitution
Khizr Khan also pulled a copy of the Constitution out of his suit pocket at the convention last year and offered to lend it to Trump.
“Look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law,”‘ he said on July 28 while standing next to his wife, waving the paperback document vigorously.
“Have you ever been to Arlington cemetery?” he then asked. “Go look at the graves of brave Americans who died defending United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing.”
Khan, who moved to the U.S. in 1980, said he and his wife were “patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country.”
Trump responded on Twitter at the time and said Khan had “viciously attacked” him at the convention, adding the issue at hand was about “radical Islamic terrorism.”
He further disputed the comments made by Khan on July 30 and said he’d given up a lot for his businesses.
“I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures,” he said, in an interview with ABC’s “This Week.”
“Sure those are sacrifices.”
With files from The Associated Press
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