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Sikh-American Protester Removed from Trump Rally

Image: A protester is escorted out of a U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump campaign event in Muscatine
A protester (front on R) is escorted out of a U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump campaign event in Muscatine, Iowa, United States, January 24, 2016. JIM YOUNG / Reuters

Two protesters were removed Sunday from a Donald Trump rally after holding up a banner that read "Stop Hate." One of the protesters — Arish Singh, a Sikh-American man — responded to the incident on Sunday, tweeting, "I am not a Muslim. But you don't have to be a Muslim to stand against anti-Muslim bigotry."

Singh and another man were escorted out of the rally in Muscatine, Iowa, as members of the audience chanted, "USA!"

"He wasn't wearing one of those hats, was he? Was he wearing one of those?" asked Trump at the rally, likely referring to his red "Make America Great Again" baseball caps. "And he never will. And he never will. And he never will."

"Mr. Trump's denigration of a Sikh man falls within a larger pattern of negative statements against minority communities," The Sikh Coalition's Simran Jeet Singh told NBC News. "Comments and actions such as these are especially dangerous given the sheer amount of hate violence that Sikh Americans are experiencing today. Every time he does something like this, it has negative consequences for Americans of all backgrounds."

Concerned about the continued mistaken conflation of the Sikh turban — which represents the Sikh faith's commitment to equality and justice — with terrorism, Gurwin Ahuja, executive director of the National Sikh Campaign, told NBC News. "It is unfortunate that this man was removed from this rally with applause when his turban represents values that are at the heart of the American ethic."

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