The parents of a fallen Pakistani-origin American soldier, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, blamed the controversial Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for growing intolerance towards Muslims in the United States.
The Khan couple the parents of 'Gold Star' – Humayun Khan, appeared at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia said that they felt compelled to speak out because the welcome they felt when they immigrated to the US nearly four decades ago is eroding badly during this year's presidential campaign.
"You see people wearing scarves, people are pointing fingers at them and throwing them out of flights and calling them names when they pass by and all of that," 66-year-old Khizr Khan said.
"Most Americans are against this kind of nonsense, but Donald Trump gave a voice to such elements. They have been encouraged by this political rhetoric and especially this election season has made it worse," he said.
Khan said Trump's call to ban all Muslim immigrants - a position the Republican nominee has since modified - and his provocative statements against Mexicans and others bear some of the responsibility for a loss of civility and restraint.
"The voices that wouldn't dare because they were afraid of the decent America to condemn them have gathered courage to show their ugliness," he said.
After their appearance at the Democratic Convention, Trump complained that Khan unfairly attacked him and questioned why Ghazala Khan had not spoken on stage.
Ghazala said the photo of her son Humayun Khan projected behind them made her break down in tears and she was not able to speak at all. Humayun, a US Army captain, died in Iraq in 2004.