Ravinder Bhalla should not even be in the US: Trump supporter.
The community has showed overwhelming support for a Hoboken, New Jersey councilman Ravinder Bhalla, an Indian American who was racially targeted by a supporter of Donald Trump as a “terrorist” on twitter, seemingly only for the fact that Bhalla, a Sikh by religion, wears a turban on his head.
The racially tinged tweet came after Bhalla, city council member-at-large and council president of Hoboken, posted a message on Twitter about the Hoboken City Council approving a waterfront multi- use pathway.
The idiot who sent out the response, Robert Dubenezic — an open supporter of Republican presumptive nominee for president Trump — expressed shock that Bhalla was even councilman, and wanted him to be ousted from the US.
“How the hell did Hoboken allow the guys to be councilman? Shouldn’t even be allowed in the US #terrorist,” Dubenezic tweeted on Thursday.
Bhalla gave an apt response: “Sir, I am born & raised in America. You clearly don’t know what it means to be an American,” he replied, with the hashtag #ignorant.
Later, Bhalla in an interview to NBC News said: “With a lot of the rhetoric we’re hearing from people like Donald Trump about Muslim Americans and people who are perceived to be from a Muslim background, I think the spread of Islamophobia from our national leaders sends the wrong message.”
He added: “I hope this episode shows people that words can be hurtful and that discriminating based on how someone looks shouldn’t just be ignored. People should be educated on different faiths and backgrounds so that diversity is celebrated. America is, after all, a nation of immigrants. And if we work together instead of against each other, we’ll accomplish so much more.”
Support came pouring in for Bhalla, including from US Representative Bonnie Watson-Coleman and Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer.
“At the end of the day, I don’t hold any malice toward this person. I forgive him for what he said and hope he will educate himself about how his comments can be hurtful and divisive,” Bhalla said.
Bhalla, an attorney and a founding member of the national Sikh Bar Association, earned national recognition for leading a successful challenge to the New York Police Department for restricting the religious practice of a Sikh officer, and he successfully challenged the search policy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons after he was asked to remove his turban in order to see a client.
One supporter lambasted Dubenezic, tweeting: “Your last name is as foreign as it gets! BTW, he’s not Muslim. Educate yourself.”
Dubenezic responded by continuing with his racially charged tweets, writing, “No towel on my head.”
“Unfortunately, ignorance and racism are alive and well, even in Hudson County,” Bhalla said on his Facebook page, reported Raw Story. “I am not deterred but more determined to serve my community in Hoboken – as a proud American and a proud Sikh!”
The councilman’s Facebook post also drew a positive response, with one person responding, “Ravi you represent the best of this country. It is sad that this kind of ignorance and racism is alive in Hudson County today. Stand tall. We have your back.”
Trump himself had mocked a turbaned Sikh protester in Iowa, in January. That protester was thrown out of his rally.
The incident began as Trump was inveighing against “radical Islamic terror,” a common theme in his stump speeches, reported The Washington Post. One of the protesters wore a beard and bright-red turban.
“Bye, bye,” Trump said sarcastically as the guard pushed the protester toward the exit and as the crowd began whistling. “Goodbye, goodbye.”
The capacity crowd then broke into chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A.,” before Trump appeared to make a quip about the protester’s turban, which was roughly the same color as Trump’s popular red “Make America Great Again” hats.
“He wasn’t wearing one of those hats was he?” Trump said, gesturing to a supporter’s hat and eliciting a laugh from the crowd.
“And he never will,” Trump continued, segueing back into his speech, “and that’s okay, because we got to do something folks because it’s not working.”