Atul Kochhar Twitter shows history of Islamophobic tweets

The backlash against Atul Kochhar’s anti-Islamic tweet yesterday intensified with a top Dubai hotel terminating its association with the two Michelin-starred chef.

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai issued a statement today stating it had “taken the decision to end our agreement with him for Rang Mahal”.

The controversy began on Monday when the Indian-born chef reprimanded Hollywood actress Priyanka Chopra for her role in an episode of ABC drama Quantico by tweeting: “It’s sad to see that you have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorised by Islam over 2000 years. Shame on you [sic].”

Despite him later deleting the offending post, his comment backfired in dramatic fashion with condemnatory tweets from people across the UK, Dubai and even India.

But this is not the first time that Atul has tweeted anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim views.

Last year in September, he queried an Indian Today news editorial title “Rohingya refugees are common people, not terrorists” by requesting that someone tell Indian politician Mamata Banerjee “about our own problems”.

A month earlier, he also took exception over The Telegraph publishing an editorial picture of Muslim children in India waving the nation’s flag during their celebration of the 70-year partition between India and Pakistan by questioning: “Why Muslims of India have to be projected on the banner @TheTelegraph__ – when India clearly is a secular country.”

Around the same time, Atul also posted this ironic tweet in which he rhetorically asks: “I am accused of religious extremism as a Hindu on Tuesdays, Muslim on Fridays, Jewish on Saturdays and a Christian on Sundays. what’s wrong?”

Although the London-based chef has issued two apologies to his latest rant, his initial tweet was not well received by some with one Twitter member Baba responding: “When I saw your tweet, I didn’t even notice 2000, I noticed dehumanizing bigotry against an already marginalized community in India, but your apology focused on 2000 Vs 1400 semantic.”

Similar objections then forced a follow-up tweet in which Atul clarified: “I would like to apologise unreservedly to my Muslim friends, the Islamic community and everyone I have offended with my recent tweets. They were insensitive and wrong.

“My work and my restaurants are defined by a passion to unite cultures through food, love and understanding. I have let myself and my colleagues down. I am upset and sorry for the pain I have caused and ask for your forgiveness.”

This latest apology has not stopped JW Marriott Marquis Hotel from issuing the following statement disassociating itself from the chef: “Following the recent comments made by Chef Atul Kochhar, we have taken the decision to end our agreement with him for Rang Mahal. With the termination of our agreement, Chef Atul will no longer be associated with the restaurant and the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai.

At the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai we pride ourselves on creating a culture of diversity and inclusion for our guests and associates across the hotel and our restaurants. We also remain committed to delivering the traditional culinary experience and high service standards that Rang Mahal is renowned for.”

UK Halal food apps Halal Gems and Halal Dining Club have also removed Atul’s most famous London restaurant Benares from their respective food lists.

A statement from Halal Gems founder Zohra Khaku read: “We are disappointed to see Chef Atul Kochhar’s message judging Islam to be ‘terrorising’, especially since his restaurants benefit from Muslim clientele and the Muslim pound.”

While Halal Dining Club CEO Siddika Jaffer believes her business is now “being targeted by anti-muslim campaigns following the Atul disaster [sic]”.

Posting on Facebook, she revealed: “[W]e removed Benares and associated restaurants from our app and website and we are now facing a backlash of 1 star reviews on our app by people who are clearly Hindu and therefore not the users of our app – Halal Dining Club.

“This will hurt us as there is no way to switch off/ block these reviews on Google Play/ App Store although we are trying to work with them to see what we can do.

“If possible, can I call upon those who have used our app to leave us feedback so we can drown these noises that are fuelled by hate? Of course not asking for fake reviews [sic].”

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