Columnist’s tweet about Jagmeet Singh’s turban called out by Sikh community

By Greg Bowman and OMNI News

A tweet from a Toronto Sun columnist about federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s turban choice is being called “insensitive” and “inappropriate” by Canada’s Sikh community.

While MPs were questioning grocery store CEOs in the House of Commons on Wednesday, columnist Brian Lilley tweeted a picture of Singh, with the caption, “Jagmeet looks like he wore his No Name turban today just to grill Galen Weston at committee.”

“I know he changes the colours for special days or occasion [sic] but didn’t expect to see No Name yellow today. Is it on purpose or a coincidence?” the tweet continued.

Gurpreet Kaur Rai, a spokesperson for the World Sikh Organization, says Lilley’s comments crossed a line.

“Extremely insensitive, inappropriate, and hurtful, and I think there’s no room in Canadian discourse for comments like that to be disseminated,” she told OMNI Television on Thursday.

She says Sikh Canadians are already visibly marginalized through their wearing of religious clothing like turbans.

“When we have journalists tweeting things like this and disseminating these types of comments, it’s extremely hurtful but it also creates a dangerous precedent in the wider Canadian society that these types of comments are okay and normalized when they’re really not,” she said.

“There’s no room for anybody to be making fun or making jokes about anybody’s articles of faith in Canada.”

Kaur Rai says Lilley should delete the tweet and offer an apology, adding the Toronto Sun should also apologize.

As of Thursday afternoon, Lilley’s post was still on Twitter — more than 24 hours after it was made. People replying to the tweet also called out Lilley’s comment.

“You might think such a superficial thought but the fact you say it out loud/publicly is thoughtless, irresponsible and if your were a professional, I would also say unprofessional,” one user wrote.

“Normally I like all your stuff but this is a huge miss,” another person said.

Many others have tweeted at Lilley urging him to delete the tweet.

Singh has not responded to the tweet and was not available for comment on the matter. CityNews has also reached out to Post Media, the parent company of the Toronto Sun, for comment.

With files from OMNI Television

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