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World
05 Nov 2017

Sikh politician in the US labelled a terrorist

US Sikh politician labelled "terrorist"; officials condemn racism

A Sikh mayoral candidate in the US was labelled a terrorist in defamatory flyers which were left on car windshields only days before the election.

The flyers targeted Ravinder Bhalla, the first Sikh to hold an elected office in New Jersey. Bhalla served as a Councilman.

The election to replace outgoing Mayor Dawn Zimmer is scheduled for Tuesday, and has six contestants.

In context

US Sikh politician labelled "terrorist"; officials condemn racism

Ravinder Bhalla's statement on the flyers

"I want to use this incident as an opportunity to affirm...the value of living in a diverse community where we are judged by the content of our character - not by the colour of our skin or how we worship," said Bhalla in a statement.

Flyers appear to be a modified version of competitor's mailers

Flyers

Flyers appear to be a modified version of competitor's mailers

The flyers targeting Bhalla read, "Don't let terrorism take over our Town!".

A report by New York Daily News said that the flyers appeared to be a modified version of mailers sent out by competing mayoral candidate Mike DeFusco.

DeFusco, however, was quick to condemn he altered flyers, calling them "racist" and "disgusting".

If elected, DeFusco will become Hoboken's first gay mayor.

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DeFusco's response to the flyers

"Today I spoke out not only against the racist, disgusting flyers targeting Ravi Bhalla that...[were] made to look like it came from my campaign, but also against the rest of the hate that has been shamefully displayed throughout this race," was DeFusco's response.

Reactions

Flyers get condemned by most New Jersey officials

The flyers against Bhalla appeared days after racist campaign mailers asserted that Chinese and Indian people were "taking over" the town.

New Jersey officials, however, largely condemned the flyers.

Senator Cory Brooker called the flyers "vile" and "hateful", and called for unequivocal condemnation of the demonstrated "bigotry & hate".

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