WASHINGTON: A councilman from Hoboken, New Jersey, Ravinder Bhalla on Thursday morning tweeted about passing a measure to make bike lanes a part of Hoboken’s waterfront. Completely unprovoked and ad hominem, a Twittizen by the name Robert Dubenezic hit him with a tweet: “How the hell did Hoboken even allow this guy to be a councilman? Shouldn’t even be allowed in the US,” and hashtagged the message #terrorist.
Dubenezic’s Twitterfeed showed where he came from not geographically, but culturally and politically. It is filled with anti-Muslim rants, support for Donald Trump (who he calls the “saviour of western civilization”) and attacks on President Obama.
Bhalla, who is a turbaned Sikh, was in fact in all grace. “Sir, I am born & raised in America. You clearly don’t know what it means to be an American,” he replied, gently hashtagging the tweet #ignorant. The online skirmish was soon joined by other Bhalla supporters, with one of them telling Dubenezic “Your last name is as foreign as it gets! BTW, he’s not Muslim. Educate yourself.”
However the Trump fan didn’t back down. ”No towel on my head,” he came back, referring Bhalla’s turban.
“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,” Bhalla told NBC News, saying he hoped the 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,” he added.
Bhalla said he has not only forgiven the Trump fanboy, but also offered to take him out for lunch to educate him.