Controversial Zee News anchor Sudhir Chaudhary has issued an extraordinary statement saying that he was not an Islamophobe. This came days after a UAE princess addressed him as an ‘intolerant terrorist.’
Sharing his statement, Chaudhary tweeted, “My name is Sudhir Chaudhary and I’m not an #Islamophobe. Some communal forces use the tag of islamophobia to target others in the name of religion. My Abu Dhabi experience is proof.”
Chaudhary had courted controversy after the Abu Dhabi chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India invited him as a speaker to its event. There were calls to disinvite him but the president of the Abu Dhabi chapter of the ICAI, Neeraj Ritolia, snubbed the member of the UAE royal family.
Chaudhary said in his statement, “It is with a very heavy heart that I share a recent experience with you. I was invited to speak at an event in Abu Dhabi. Just days before the event, some blue-ticked handles led by “princess” & wannabe blogger started browbeating and threatening the organisers. They called me an Islamophobe, and a terrorist. They tried to make the atmosphere in Abu Dhabi communally charged against me. I was abused and threatened on social media.”
He continued, “Then they spread fake news about my participation being cancelled. Some media outfits in India amplified their propaganda and lies without any fact-checking. They declared that I’d been barred from speaking at the event.”
Terming his critics wrong, Chaudhary said that not only did he visit Abu Dhabi but he also spoke his ‘heart out.’ “This is despite pressure, intimidation tactics, life threatening emails and coordinated trolling, that did not even spare other guests and sponsors. They were told to pull out from the event or stop me from speaking. They had to arrange for security to prevent any untoward incident,” he added.
Chaudhary has been accused of promoting Islamophobia using his TV channels on a regular basis. In his statement, he failed to explain why the allegations of Islamophobia were wrong. He simply appeared to gloat in his statement highlighting how the UAE government had given ‘all clearances.’
He said, “Some people thought they could supercede authorities and cancel a speaker. Speaks a lot about these so-called champions of free speech and tolerance. I’m waiting to see if the fact-checkers will call them out.”