Trump, Khan
Donald Trump was criticised by Khizr Khan, whose son was a decorated US soldier killed in Iraq Getty Images

There are more than 5,000 Muslims serving in various branches of the military according to the Pentagon. This fact alone should serve as foil to those hoping to argue that the War on Terror is somehow a war against Islam, a clash of civilisations or that Islam is incompatible with Western values. Or as Trump told Anderson Cooper on CNN: "I think Islam hates us".

Yet, there I was at 5:45am on CNN having yet another debate spurred by Trump's bigoted, arrogant, and belligerent attacks on Muslims, this time, on a mother and father who immigrated to America with their son. The son became a captain in the army and was awarded the Purple Heart along with the Bronze Star in recognition for his bravery when he was killed in the line of duty in Iraq in 2004.

As if we needed another reason to prove why Trump is not temperamentally, intellectually or psychologically fit to serve as our nation's commander in chief.

The latest feud speaks volumes about Trump's character. He accuses Khizr Khan of "viciously attacking" him for challenging him on his proposal to ban all Muslims from America. Never mind the racist, hateful, vitriol that has been spewing out of Trump's own mouth, since he launched his presidential campaign.

But the silence of the soldier's mother Ghazala Khan onstage and Khizr speaking about his son's love of country and his family's sacrifice, while questioning whether Trump has even read the constitution, that somehow, according to Trump, constitutes a "vicious attack".

Then there is the glaring hypocrisy. Trump had no problem inviting Patricia Smith (another American mother who lost her son in the line of duty) to speak at the RNC and attack Hillary Clinton, blaming the Democrat for her son's death and demanding she be put "in stripes".

But when a Muslim American mother, also grieving for the son who died fighting for the country he loved, stood by her husband as he spoke at the DNC, Trump ridiculed her, implying she wasn't allowed to speak because her faith wouldn't allow it.

His bigotry, baked in cowardice as it may be, is still proving effective at dividing the country, providing ammunition to extremists and serving as a recruitment tool for Isis who, like Trump, have denounced the Khans, calling their son an apostate.

Trump may not be particularly bright, but he is at least smart enough to realise that his only chance of ascending to power, to fulfil his only goal — winning — is to divide and conquer the country.

What is worse, as the story continued to snowball, Trump tweeted: "This story is not about Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews, but rather RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM and the U.S. Get smart!"

He is asking fans on Twitter to get smart, but yesterday, speaking to an Ohio television station, Trump made the ridiculous claim that: "When you have radical Islamic terrorists probably all over the place... we're allowing them to come in by the thousands and thousands... And I think that's what bothered Mr Khan more than anything else. And, you know, I'm not going to change my views on that."

Trump doesn't care about facts. He doesn't care about grieving mothers. He doesn't care about America. He only cares about himself, and winning at all costs.

But he can only win if he and his surrogates are given the platform to continue to distract from his lack of consistent or constructive policies to "make America great again", and instead instil fear in the heart of an already agitated electorate.

I had the unfortunate experience of debating Sajid Tarar, the founder of Muslims for Trump, on CNN. He parades across cable networks saying things like "not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslim" or that Mrs Khan didn't speak because she is Muslim, pointing to Saudi Arabia, "where Muslim women can't speak".

Never mind that Saudi Arabia, and the severe restrictions it puts on women's freedoms, does not represent the other hundreds of millions of Muslim women around the world.

Never mind that, just as America is celebrating the possibility of electing its first woman president in 2016, the Muslim world has already produced nine women who have led their countries.

Media airtime

It is hardly surprising that Republican leaders are increasingly having to criticise Trump and separate themselves from him, without discrediting him altogether as the party nominee. But it is surprising to see the Democratic party emerge as the party espousing patriotism and militarism, while the Republicans are led by a man who calls the military "a disaster" and insults millions of Muslims the world over, including the mother of an American war hero.

Fox News chose not to air Khan's speech, instead airing a video about Khan's death, an anti-Clinton attack ad about Benghazi and fake 'breaking news' about the FBI director saying if we make gains against Isis overseas it increases the likelihood of an attack at home.

So long as the media continues to give airtime to the Trump campaign's fearmongering and race-baiting, he stands a real chance of winning this election. Because as powerful as Mr Khan's impassioned speech was (it even brought Rich Galen, a former press secretary for Newt Gingrich, to tears), fear is is all the more powerful, and has helped many a demagogue win many an election across the world.

Unfortunately in politics in general, and increasingly in this election, perceptions matter more than facts, which is precisely why Trump has been so successful.

Still, even former Vice President Dick Cheney denounced Trump's plan to ban Muslims from immigrating to the US, saying "it goes against everything we stand for and believe in". And that should tell us all something.