Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who gave an impassioned speech at the Democratic National Convention last summer in defense of the Constitution, is no longer traveling to give a talk in Canada. After initially stating the event was cancelled because Khan’s “travel privileges were under review,” organizer Bob Ramsay of “Ramsay Talks” appeared to back away from that explanation.
In an email to McClatchy, Ramsay said the event was cancelled because Khan was not coming to Toronto.
“Alll [sic] the other information we got from me [sic] khan so you'd best check with him,” Ramsay said.
A phone call to Khan was not returned.
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Khan, who is a U.S. citizen, had been scheduled to give a speech in Toronto Mar. 7. But Monday, Ramsay Talks released a statement on Facebook saying he would no longer be appearing.
Americans do not need a visa to travel to Canada, and a U.S. citizen like Khan is free to travel abroad, so it is unclear why his plans would be “under review” as the statement alleged.
“A U.S. citizen who holds a valid U.S. passport may enter and depart the U.S. It is the decision of each individual country to determine whether to admit any U.S. citizen. U.S. citizens traveling should consult the requirements for their destination country prior to travel,” a State Department spokesperson told McClatchy. “Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.”
A Customs and Border Protection official told Politico his agency doesn’t contact Americans ahead of trips out of the country.
The cancellation came on the same day the Trump administration announced a revised executive order restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries. Khan emigrated to the U.S. in 1980 from Pakistan, which is not on the list.
Khan’s son Capt. Humayun Khan was killed serving in Iraq in 2004. He was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart for saving the lives of other soldiers. The elder Khan and his wife Ghazala appeared in Philadelphia at the DNC in July, during which he delivered a speech rejection then-Republican candidate Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from the U.S. because they are a security risk.
Asked last week by the Toronto Star whether he was concerned about his own personal security, Khan said, “We will continue to speak out and I do it pro bono. That’s all a patriotic citizen can do. We have taken precautions and we are very, very careful. But we have to take some risks.”
Khan told Canadian television station CTV on Monday that he had no further comment on his travel. He said the same to NPR.
McClatchy’s David Goldstein contributed to this report.