Racist Fliers Target Sikh Mayor Candidate In New Jersey

Slanderous fliers, calling Democrat Sikh candidate Ravinder Bhalla a “terrorist”, surfaced ahead of the mayoral election in Hoboken, New Jersey.


Ahead of the mayoral election in Hoboken, New Jersey, slanderous fliers were left on car windshields of residents, calling Democrat Sikh candidate Ravinder Bhalla a “terrorist”. The fliers carried a photo New Jersey Councilman Bhalla with text saying: “Don’t let terrorism take over our town!”  

“There’s been an undercurrent of racism I’ve seen in this campaign,” Bhalla said to  New York Daily News, after the fliers were found on Nov. 3. “That sort of whispering campaign has come to the surface now, where people have the audacity to send a flier like that.” 

Bhalla addressed the issue of the xenophobic fliers on Nov. 4, saying: “Of course, this is troubling, but I want to be clear: We won’t let hate win in Hoboken. I want people to know that Hoboken is a welcoming community where my wife and I are proud to raise our two young children. No matter your religion, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, you are welcome here in our city.”  

These fliers were said to be the modified version of campaign mailers sent out by another Hoboken mayoral candidate Mike DeFusco. His original campaign material accused Bhalla of having a potential conflict of interest. In a statement released by Fusco on Nov. 4 on his Facebook page, he condemned the modified fliers saying: “Hoboken is far better than this, and whoever made this flier is not only insulting one of my opponents in a despicable way, they are also painting me as a racist, which as the only openly gay elected official in Hudson County and a progressive Democrat simply could not be further from the truth.” 

He added: “I called Councilman Bhalla tonight to assure him that although we disagree on many issues, we can stand united against this kind of racism infecting our city. I’ve also submitted a copy of this flier to the Hoboken Police Department and will be sending it to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.”  

Senator Cory Brooker also reacted on Twitter, calling the flier “vile” and “hateful”.  

Six candidates are in the race for the outgoing Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s position. The election is slated to be held on Nov. 7.   

These fliers came into picture after racist campaign mailers targeted two Asian school board candidates in Edison. The campaign mailers in Edison used Donald Trump’s campaign slogan and claimed Chinese and Indians are “taking over” the town. The fliers said: “Chinese school! Indian school! Cricket fields! Enough is enough!” On the other side, it says, “Stop the overcrowding!” “Stop taking over our sports fields! Stop the McMansions! Stop multiple families living in the same house! Stop wasting school holidays! Stop the outsiders!”  It added: “Let’s take back Edison and our schools.”   

The number of South Asians in the state has grown dramatically in recent decades. In 1970, there were fewer than 50,000 Asians in New Jersey, as per state data. The number increased to more than 725,000 by 2010. 

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