WASHINGTON: A turbaned Sikh, Arish Singh, was forced out of Donald Trump’s election rally in Iowa after he protested the Republican presidential frontrunner’s anti-Muslim speeches with a ‘Stop Hate’ banner.
Mr. Singh started his peaceful protest impromptu, when Mr Trump was addressing an impressive campaign rally on Sunday, Jan 24, with his signature anti-Muslim speech.
Arish Singh is a former editor of a local newspaper ‘Little Village’ and a comedian. He was thrown out of a Trump rally for displaying the banner.
The protest started when Mr Trump was speaking about the twin-tower terrorist attack in New York.
“We have radical Islamic terror going on all over the place, all over the world, and we have a president that won’t say it,” he said.
“When planes fly into the World Trade Centre, and into the Pentagon, and wherever the third plane was going. When people are shooting their friends in California, when they’re shooting their friends,” Mr Trump said.
As the Sikh raised his banner, he waved his hand and said ‘Bye. Bye. Goodbye’.
“He wasn’t wearing one of those hats was he? And he never will, and that’s OK because we got to do something folks because it’s not working,” Mr Trump said as the sole Sikh protester was taken out of the rally amidst chanting of ‘USA, USA, USA’ by his supporters.
Mr Trump is campaigning in Iowa ahead of the next week’s crucial caucus.
Latest polls showed that he has taken a lead over his nearest Republican rival Ted Cruz. Iowa Caucus on February 1 is considered crucial as it would set the trend for the rest of the presidential primaries over the next few months.
Singh has said that he plans to take his peacful protests to other rallies of the real-estate tycoon
“I am a not a Muslim. But you don’t have to be a Muslim to stand against anti-Muslim bigotry,” Mr Singh, a resident of Chicago, tweeted yesterday afternoon.
“I did interrupt him. I did say, ‘why do you give shelter to white supremacists. Why do we have white supremacists robocalling in Iowa?’ I did say that as we dropped the banner,” Mr Singh told the publication in an interview.
Mr Singh said that he decided to interrupt the speech due to a series of remarks by Mr Trump – such as his suggestion that the US ban all Muslim immigrants – which have coincided with a rise in incidents of xenophobia and bigotry against Sikhs and Muslim Americans.
While Mr Trump has not attacked Sikhs directly, Mr Singh pointed to a series of hate-crimes perpetuated against Muslim Americans over the past months.
It is part of the Sikh tradition to stand up to injustice, regardless of where it might manifest, he said, adding that he plans on protesting during Trump’s rally in Iowa City.
When Mr Singh saw that white supremacists began robo-calling in Iowa in support of Trump, he said that was the “last straw,” Little Village reported.
“I don’t really care about Trump himself or his political party, but this sort of movement that he’s emboldened – this sort of fascistic element that genuinely identifies with fascism, that’s willing to commit hate-crimes – that’s something that’s real that needs to be confronted, and you can’t just let that go without comment, and I think that’s kind of how it’s been treated,” Mr Singh said.
Mr Singh said he was not sure, if Mr Trump in his comment in hat was trying to make any kind of slur against him.
“Whether he was trying to make any kind of slur against me is kind of irrelevant. It’s clear what his politics are as far as ostracizing and scapegoating people for their background. I think he’s left no real mystery there,” Mr Singh said.
“I believe we’re banned from the premises for a year,” Mr Singh said.