Khizr Khan, the bereaved military father who drew national attention during the 2016 presidential campaign, cancelled an appearance in Toronto because of what was initially described as a review of his “travel privileges.”
Khan was scheduled to appear at a 7 March 2017 event hosted by RamsayTalks. The company released a statement a day prior to Khan’s appearance saying that Khan had been “notified that his travel privileges are being reviewed.”
“As a consequence, Mr. Khan will not be traveling to Toronto on March 7th to speak about tolerance, understanding, unity and the rule of law,” the statement read.
On 17 March 2017, Khizr said in an email to a radio station that he “did not want to go through the hassle of uncertain rules and capricious implementation.”
RamsayTalks’ initial statement also included remarks attributed to Khan, though the agency that reportedly contacted him was not identified:
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. 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.
RamsayTalks host Bob Ramsay told Snopes via e-mail that he did not know which agency got in touch with Khan, and that his company was not contacted prior to Khan’s cancellation.
Khan, who was born in Pakistan, was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1986, as was his wife Ghazala. The couple’s son, Humayun Khan, was killed while serving as an Army captain in Iraq in 2004, which led to their being designated as a Gold Star family.
The Khans appeared at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in support of the party’s nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In a highly publicized speech at the convention, Khizr Khan criticized Clinton’s opponent, Republican nominee Donald Trump, saying:
Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words “liberty” and “equal protection of law.”
Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities.
You have sacrificed nothing and no one.
As a U.S. citizen, Khan may leave the country and re-enter it provided his passport is valid, though other countries have the option of deciding whether to let any U.S. citizen enter. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency does not contact citizens prior to their traveling outside of the U.S. We queried the Canada Border Services Agency seeking comment but have yet to hear back.