“I will stand by my Muslim brothers and sisters,” says Gurratan Singh, a member of a provincial parliament in Canada.
The rise and rise of racism is becoming an everyday reality in the western world today. And when extreme racism is seen in some of the most diverse and tolerant parts of the world, it does speak for a need to heal through acts of courage and character.
Canadian politician Gurratan Singh did exactly that and more, when he was confronted by a racist and Islamophobe at a Muslim fest held in Mississauga, in the province of Ontario, over the weekend.
Singh, who is a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) from Brampton East, was confronted by a white guy, who began a racist rant, mistaking the Sikh politician to be a Muslim. But not to be deterred by the man’s high-pitched tone, Singh responded to him firmly by saying, “I condemn your racism.”
As the man went on to harass Singh on Shariah, the Islamic law, the politician chose not to reveal that he isn’t really a Muslim. His courage and solidarity won over many hearts. As the video of the incident became viral, people from all corners of the world poured their love and gratitude to him.
Singh later took to Twitter to thank millions of people congratulating him for his poised stance in front of an angry racist. He wrote: “Thanks for all your love & support, I am truly humbled. But this is bigger than one person & one single event. It’s about the rise of Islamophobia, racism & hate. And how Canada & the world could use a lot more of @theJagmeetSingh’s love & courage in confronting.”
Gurratan Singh is the brother of Jagmeet Singh, who is the leader of new Democratic Party and a member of the Canadian parliament.
Jagmeet Singh is the first turban wearing Sikh to sit as a provincial legislator in Ontario. Years ago, he, too, was heckled by a racist, who mistook him to be a Muslim and harassed him over the Shariah law. Jagmeet Singh’s response to the heckler — “We welcome, you, we love you” — was appreciated the world over.
Gurratan Singh followed the same philosophy of peacefully standing the ground, in the face of harassment. Later he tweeted: “My brother @theJagmeetSingh taught me to always confront racism. I will never respond to an Islamophobe by stating, “I am not a Muslim”. Instead, I will always stand with my Muslim brothers and sisters and say hate is wrong.”
The person who confronted Gurratan Singh later identified himself as Stephen Garvey, founder of the anti-immigrant National Citizen Alliance. In the past, Garvey has reportedly interrupted a number of Muslim events.