Tanmanjit Dhesi, the first UK MP to wear a turban, has described the racist attacks a Sikh has experienced throughout his life in Britain.
The Labor politician became MP in 2017 for Slow, the city where he was born and raised to Indian parents.
After facing racism all his life, Dhesi described his experiences when a student tried to tear off his turban in a school classroom. GB News.
He explained that racism was a common and prevalent experience for many people from ethnic minorities across the country, with attacks intensifying after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Speaking to GB News host Gloria De Piero from the former Labor MP, he said: “When I grew up, someone – one of my so-called classmates – thought it would be a lot of fun to try to take my turban off.
“I was in tears trying to come to terms with it as a kid, and unfortunately for many people that’s the experience.”
He said: “After the 9/11 attacks, the level of racism towards people, especially those with a turban or beard like me, increased significantly.”
Dhesi insisted that racism extends further than classes, describing the discrimination against a turban-wearing Indian visitor faced by the House Commons.
“When he was in the queue outside Parliament, someone filled with so much hatred made a derogatory remark towards him, made Islamophobic remarks, ‘Go back to your country’,” the MP said.
“Unfortunately, he also tried to take off his turban.”
Dhesi admitted that he was embarrassed by the attack that took place just outside Parliament, adding: “What will be the image of our country when he goes back to India?”
The MP, who was appointed shadow minister for the railways, said he has been compared to the Taliban for the past few decades because of his skin color and his choice to wear a turban.
He said members of Sikhism were shot in the US after the September 11 terrorist attacks because of hatred that “pervades many people not only in North American, but in Europe as well.”
Dhesi said it was a privilege to be the first turban-wearing Sikh to sit in the British Parliament – and in fact, in the European Parliament too – but with the title came a greater sense of responsibility to represent the community, which is about one percent is part of. population.
“If I say something wrong, it won’t just reflect on me, it will reflect on anyone wearing a turban, any young child who faces bullying.
“I want them to look up and say ‘If he can do it, why can’t I?
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /