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Jagmeet Singh, NDP Leadership Hopeful, Masterfully Handles Heckler At Brampton Event

07/09/2017 10:32 PM IST | Updated 10/09/2017 8:55 AM IST

NDP leadership hopeful Jagmeet Singh had to face a situation he deemed a "little awkward" Wednesday at an event in Brampton, Ont.

Singh was speaking at one of his brilliantly named "JagMeet and Greet" events at the Professor's Lake Recreation Centre when a woman interrupted him to yell about his "Shariah."

Singh is a Sikh MPP from Ontario. Shariah is a system of laws based on Islam.

In a Facebook video shared by Brampton Focus, the woman is first seen standing next to Singh and speaking to someone off camera. Most of what she says is inaudible due to the noise in the room and Singh's microphone.

"When is your Shariah going to end?" the woman asks him at one point.

Live at Jagmeet and Greet

Broadcasting "Jagmeet and Greet Event" from Professors Lake in Brampton, ON

Posted by Brampton Focus on Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The NDP leadership candidate then begins speaking to the audience, attempting to defuse the situation.

"We don't want to be intimidated by hate. We don't want hatred to ruin a positive event," he says.

"Let's show people how we would treat someone with love," he adds, as the audience claps and starts chanting "love and courage" — his campaign slogan.

Things get a bit more tense as the woman starts pointing her finger at Singh and yelling. Again, most of what she is saying is drowned out by the audience's chanting.

"We welcome you. We love you. We support you, and we love you," Singh tells her.

After the chanting dies down, the woman then tells Singh that he hasn't "returned my calls."

"This is a little bit awkward, but it's OK. We're not intimidated by hatefulness," Singh says.

We're not going to be intimidated, it's all good.

The chaotic scene continues for about another minute, with the woman asking the MPP when he'll "stop voting for Shariah" and Singh responding with kind words.

"Let her just speak as much as she wants. It's OK, we have no problem with it," he says.

"I love you all, these are things that happen, it's OK," Singh adds as the audience breaks out into applause.

The woman, growing frustrated, then leaves.

"We're not going to be intimidated, it's all good," Singh says.

Toronto Star via Getty Images
NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh is shown during question period at Queen's Park on Feb. 21, 2017.

Many viewers on Facebook and users on Twitter commended Singh for how he handled the situation.

"Mr. Singh is showing a hell of a lot class here," said one user on Facebook.

Singh told the Brampton audience after the standoff ended that he has faced this kind of situation before.

"You know, growing up as a brown-skinned, turbaned, bearded man, I've faced things like this before. It's not a problem, we can deal with it."

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The 38-year-old echoed those comments in an interview with HuffPost Canada earlier in the year. He said growing up in Windsor, Ont. was rough.

"Kids would say: 'You're dirty, your skin is dirty, why don't you take a shower?' ... or 'You're not a boy, you're a girl because you have long hair,' and then they would just come up and pull my hair, or just punch me," he told HuffPost in January.

Singh has made social justice and equality a core component of his NDP leadership campaign.

As part of his criminal justice platform, Singh plans to create a federal ban on racial profiling — an issue he has been outspoken about as a provincial legislator in Ontario.

With files from Althia Raj and The Canadian Press

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