Sikh politician once verbally attacked by anti-Muslim woman in viral video becomes first person of colour to lead major political party in Canada

Last month, a video of a woman hurling racist insults at Jagmeet Singh, a Sikh-Canadian politician, went viral on social media.

After the heckler accused him of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and working to impose Sharia law, Singh responded by repeatedly telling the woman, “We love you.”

“You know growing up as a brown-skin, turbaned, bearded man that I’ve faced things like this before,” Singh told the audience. “There’s going to be other obstacles that we’re going to face and we’re going to face them with love and courage.”

Singh’s reaction received widespread praise, including compliments from CNN’s Jake Tapper and the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., Bernice King.

The attention helped boost Singh’s national profile just weeks before voters took to the polls to elect the new leader of Canada’s left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP).

On Sunday, Singh won 53.6% of the vote, according to the BBC, becoming the first person of colour to lead a major political party in the country. At 38, he is also the youngest person to ever lead the New Democrats.

Singh was born in Ontario to immigrant parents from India. After working as a criminal defence attorney, he decided to enter politics. In 2011, he defeated his incumbent opponent to become the first member of Ontario’s parliament to wear a turban.

Last May, Singh decided to run for higher office, announcing his candidacy to lead the NDP.

The NDP holds 44 of the 338 seats in parliament, making it the third largest party in power, though it lags behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s centrist Liberal Party and the right-leaning Conservative Party.

Next, Singh will face off against Trudeau and several other party leaders in the 2019 federal elections.

Trudeau, Singh, and Andrew Scheer, the 38-year-old Conservative Party leader, have an average age of just 40 years. When 2019 rolls around, they will be “the youngest trio of major party leaders vying to be prime minister in Canada’s history,” according to CBC News.

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