It takes simple and civil ways to dispel the aggression of hate, and violence.
Jagmeet Singh, NDP candidate for leadership did just that when he was heckled at a political meeting by die-hards who mistakenly thought he was a Muslim.
On Wednesday, a woman interrupted Singh’s event in Brampton, Ont. to accuse him of backing Shariah, a system of laws based on Islam, and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. The Ontario MPP is Sikh. Video recordings of Singh deftly defusing the situation by urging his supporters to respond with “love and courage” — and telling the woman he loved and welcomed her — have since gone viral in Canada and the United States.
Here in his own words, he explains why he did what he did
“Many people have commented that I could have just said I’m not Muslim. In fact, many have clarified that I’m actually Sikh,” he said. “While I’m proud of who I am, I purposely didn’t go down that road because it suggests their hate would be ok if I was Muslim. We all know it’s not.
“I didn’t answer the question because my response to Islamophobia has never been ‘I’m not Muslim.’ It has always been and will be that ‘hate is wrong.'”Singh said he reacted as he did because he needed to “act fast and set the tone” for the room.
“Once allowed to grow, hate doesn’t pick and choose, it spreads like fire. Once we say it’s ok to hate someone based on their religion, we’re also opening the door to hate based on race, gender, sexuality, and more,” he said. “It’s important that we stand united against all forms of hate.
“It takes love to understand that we’re all in this together. It takes courage to come together, demand better and dream bigger, so that we can build a world where no one is left behind.”My response to Islamophobia has never been ‘I’m not Muslim.’ It has always been and will be that ‘hate is wrong.’Jagmeet Singh.
It’s not just Singh’s spontaneously dignified response but that of his rival in the campaign that shows pointers to how a mature democracy should speak. Unitedly. Against hatred and violence. One of Singh’s rivals, Manitoba MP Niki Ashton, took to Twitter earlier to compliment him for handling the incident with dignity and respect.