Yesterday, a flyer w/ word “terrorist” above a pic of me was circulated in Hob. Of course this is troubling, but we won’t let hate win. pic.twitter.com/Ri9xrYF4Al— Ravinder S. Bhalla (@RaviBhalla) November 4, 2017
Racist flyers began circulating in New Jersey making groundless accusations of terrorism against a mayoral candidate, attacking his religion and customs.
The flyers featured Ravi Bhalla, who is running for the mayor of Hoboken, where he was photographed wearing the traditional Sikh turban. The flyer implored voters to “not let TERRORISM take over” the town.
Bhalla posted the photo to his Facebook page and reassured his followers he and people in his town will not let hate win.
“Of course, this is troubling, but I want to be clear: We won’t let hate win in Hoboken,” Bhalla wrote on Facebook. “I want people to know that Hoboken is a welcoming community where my wife and I are proud to raise our two young children.”
He added, “The hardest part as a father was answering my daughter's questions, asking: ‘Why are people attacking you because you wear a turban?’”
The racist material also mentioned a potential conflict of interest as the city’s water supplier is a client of the law firm where Bhalla is a partner.
However, no connection has made between this fact and "terrorism."
The flyer claimed it was paid for by the rival mayoral candidate, Michael DeFusco. However, DeFusco refuted the allegations and expressed disgust over the offensive message.
“I condemn this piece of racist garbage in the strongest possible terms,” he said in a statement. “Political stunts like this are everything that’s wrong with politics today.”
DeFusco also posted a video to his Facebook page tearing the flyer.
Hateful New Jersey based campaign mailers this week. This is not ok. pic.twitter.com/0fapD6fmNs— Zahra Billoo (@ZahraBilloo) November 4, 2017
It seems the preferred method of spreading racist messages in New Jersey these days is through political flyers.
Earlier this week, residents of Edison received upsetting flyers in mail featuring photos of two Asian-American school board candidates with the word “Deport” stamped over them.
The flyer claimed the “Chinese and Indians” were “taking over” the town. The message “Make Edison Great Again” made clear the political inspiration behind the racist act.
In another incident of hate against the Sikh community, just last week, a 14-year-old Sikh student was viciously beaten near his school in what his parents believe is a hate crime.
The teenager, who was wearing a traditional turban, was going about minding his own business when a figure slammed his fist into his head from behind.
As the teen fell and curled up, his assailant, who reportedly studies in the same school as the Sikh student, continued punching him.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, John Gress