DUBAI: An Indian-origin man who is the head chef of a popular Indian restaurant in Dubai is facing criticism for a tweet that is being viewed as “anti-Islam”.
Michelin-star chef Atul Kochhar of the Rang Mahal restaurant at the JW Marriot Marquis hotel received flak after taking a dig at actress Priyanka Chopra for her tweet over a “Quantico” episode that portrayed Hindu nationalists as terrorists, the Khaleej Times reported on Tuesday.
“It’s sad to see that you have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorised by Islam over 2,000 years. Shame on You (sic),” Mr Kochhar tweeted on Sunday.
He later deleted the tweet and put out an apology, saying the “major error” was “made in the heat of the moment on Sunday”.
“There is no justification for my tweet … I fully recognise my inaccuracies that Islam was founded around 1,400 years ago and I sincerely apologise. I am not Islamophobic, I deeply regret my comments that have offended many,” he wrote.
JW Marriot hotel distanced itself from the chef’s comments.
“We are aware of the comments made by Chef Atul Kochhar. We would like to stress that we do not share the same views as stated in the remark, nor is it a representation of the culture of diversity and inclusion that we pride ourselves on at the hotel,” the hotel tweeted on Monday.
We are aware of the comments made by Chef Atul Kochhar. We would like to stress that we do not share the same views as stated in the remark, nor is it a representation of the culture of diversity and inclusion that we pride ourselves on at the hotel.
— JW Marriott Marquis (@JWDubaiMarquis) June 11, 2018
Mr Kochhar’s tweet created a furore on the social media, with twitterati calling for firing the chef.
Responding to the hotel’s tweet, a Twitter user, Irena Akbar, said: “But now that there is a clear clash of values (your tolerance vs his bigotry), how can you carry on such a relationship? His contract should be snapped.”
Popular commentator and Arab journalist Khaled Almaeena tweeted: “You (Kochhar) have offended me… As a person who loves India its people no matter what their caste or creed. As a secular and liberal, it truly is a horror statement.”
You have offended me…As a person who loves India its people no matter what their caste or creed https://t.co/oxxF5waftf a secular and liberal it truly is a horror statement @vijayprashad @ShahidBurney @EnglishAlbilad Repent as Gopal my friend from Naini Tal said. @talmaeena
— Khaled Almaeena (@KhaledAlmaeena) June 11, 2018
It is this normalisation of hate which is letting this celebrity chef get away with using such vile, provocative language against a community. @JWDubaiMarquis when you host iftaar evenings at marriott dubai, is this the spirit you celebrate ? pic.twitter.com/Cp7NY9htev
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) June 11, 2018
Some residents have said that they would boycott the restaurant.
And yet you’re offering Iftar during the Holy Month of Ramadan in your Dubai restaurant. Saddened to see this today. #hypocrisy
— Maxine English (@MissMaxine) June 11, 2018
You apologise for what? For the error of referring a wrong history period of Islam or for being an obvious Islamophobe? Even your apology does not appear an apology.
— Omair Anas (@omairanas) June 11, 2018
How Intolerant 👇
Everyone's true colors show eventually …. pic.twitter.com/Lx33g9u5Nt
— BHOR Sharma (@faustocloud) June 11, 2018