Islam is (Also) a Religion of Peace

Foreign Policy, 2016

4 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2016 Last revised: 30 Aug 2016

See all articles by Zachary D. Kaufman

Zachary D. Kaufman

Boston University - School of Law; Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law; University of Houston Law Center; Stanford Law School; Yale University - Law School; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: August 4, 2016


Since July 28, 2016, when they first appeared on stage at the Democratic National Convention, Captain Humayun Khan’s parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, have tried to explain for the American public their son’s service and sacrifice to his country. On June 8, 2004, the 27-year-old Captain Khan died in the line of duty in Iraq when he ordered his subordinates to stand back while he inspected a suspicious vehicle that then exploded, taking his life as he sheltered his compatriots. It was an act of heroism for which the Army posthumously awarded him a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

Captain Khan’s parents have attributed their son’s sacrifice to his sense of duty, patriotism, and love of the United States — an explanation that has doubled as an eloquent riposte to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s repeated insults about the loyalty and trustworthiness of Muslim Americans.

But there’s another possible motivation for their son’s heroism that bears examination — not least because it serves as the most direct possible rebuttal to Trump. The selfless service of Captain Khan, who was reportedly a devout Muslim, may also have been directly inspired by his faith. There’s good reason to believe that Islam was an essential, rather than incidental, aspect of his heroism.

Keywords: Islam, Muslims, Islamophobia, Judaism, Jews, Christianity, Christian, Quran, Koran, Donald Trump, Holocaust, Rwanda, Rwandan Genocide, Humayun Khan, Albert Einstein, Hero, Heroism, Rescue, Rescuer, Terrorism, Terrorist, September 11

Suggested Citation

Kaufman, Zachary D., Islam is (Also) a Religion of Peace (August 4, 2016). Foreign Policy, 2016, Available at SSRN:

Zachary D. Kaufman (Contact Author)

Boston University - School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States


University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4104 Martin Luther King Boulevard
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States


Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics