A Sikh lawmaker’s measured response to being heckled by a belligerent woman in Canada has impressed many. Jagmeet Singh was subjected to an aggressive and racist rant by a woman at a campaign event in Brampton, Ontario on Wednesday. He responded by saying: “We welcome you. We love you. We support you.” His supporters chanted “Love and Courage,” Mr Singh’s campaign slogan, as the woman repeatedly yelled at Mr Singh. A video of the exchange is viral.
Mr Singh is in the running to lead the left-leaning New Democratic Party, or NDP, Canada’s third largest party. A practicing Sikh, the 38-year-old politician sports a long beard, wears a turban and carries a kirpan.
In the video, a white woman aggressively invades Mr Singh’s personal space as he is getting ready to speak to a crowd of supporters during an event he calls a “JagMeet and Greet,” a community outreach programme and campaign event.
“We know you’re in bed with Sharia,” the woman, who identifies herself as “Jennifer,” begins angrily. “We know you’re in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Sharia is a system of laws in Islamic tradition. Mr Singh is, quite obviously, not Muslim.
As Mr Singh’s supporters try to calm her and keep her away from the politician, she gets even angrier and threatens to call the police.
Rather than addressing her directly, Mr Singh addresses the crowd saying: “We believe in love and courage… We don’t want to be intimidated by hate, we don’t want hatred to ruin a positive event… So let’s show people how to treat someone with love: We welcome you. We love you. We support you.”
His supporters chant “Jagmeet” and “Love and courage” and break into applause.
After ranting for a full four minutes, the woman finally storms off.
“You know growing up as a brown-skin, turbaned, bearded man that I’ve faced things like this before,” Mr Singh tells the crowd. “There’s going to be other obstacles that we’re going to face and we’re going to face them with love and courage.”
Brampton Focus, a local news outlet, captured the entire exchange and posted a video of it on Facebook, where it has gone viral. The video has been watched over 4 lakh times and has been shared well over 3,000 times already.