On December 1, Sudhir Chaudhary, Editor In Chief & CEO, Zee News, took on Twitter and spoke about the allegations raised against him of being an Islamophobe. Chaudhary has been facing sharp criticism, especially from the trolls of a particular community, as he was invited to speak at an event by ICAI’s Abu Dhabi chapter. A full-fledged campaign was run on the social media platform to get his name removed from the event.
My name is Sudhir Chaudhary and I’m not an #Islamophobe.— Sudhir Chaudhary (@sudhirchaudhary) December 1, 2021
Some communal forces use the tag of islamophobia to target others in the name of religion. My Abu Dhabi experience is proof. pic.twitter.com/c4zZV7uD8B
In his statement, Chaudhary said that just a few days before the event, some blue-ticked handles on Twitter led by an alleged “princess” and a wannabe blogger “started browbeating and threatening the organisers.” Sudhir was called Islamophobe and a terrorist by the trolls. “They tried to make the atmosphere in Abu Dhabi communally charged against me. I was abused and threatened on social media,” he added. There were also reports that his participation was cancelled, and several media outlets spread the fake news as propagated by the trolls on the social media platforms.
Sudhir said, “They were wrong. I did visit Abu Dhabi and attend the event, and spoke my heart out. This is despite pressure, intimidation tactics, life-threatening emails and coordinated trolling that did not even spare the other guests and sponsors. They were told to pull out from the event or stop me from speaking.” Additional security was arranged for the event to avoid any unwanted incidents.
He further said he got an ‘overwhelming and truly touching’ response from the people of Abu Dhabi. “While the government and local authorities of the UAE gave all clearances, some people thought they could supersede authorities and cancel a speaker. Speaks a lot about these so-called champions of free speech and tolerance.” Then, targeting the left-leaning group of fact-checkers, he said, “I’m waiting to see if the fact-checkers will call them out.”
Sudhir said he shared his experience as it was important to expose the trolls who ganged up against him and tried to deny space to ideas and ideologies that did not conform to theirs. “It is important to stand up to them,” he said.
Hend bint Faisal Al-Qasimi’s uncontrolled rant
After Sudhir posted his statement on Twitter, Hend bint Faisal Al-Qasimi, the businesswoman who turned into a troll to bar him from speaking at the ICAI event, ranted uncontrollably on social media. In a tweet, she targeted CA Neeraj Ritolia, Chairman, ICAI Abu Dhabi Chapter, and said in an Arabic tweet, “We must report the groups supporting the terrorist groups in India that attended today among us in the land of peace and tolerance UAE. Domestic funding from Muslim companies must be cut off for Hindu terrorism which spreads its poison daily in its religious racist programme.” (translated by Google Translate.)
Hend was the frontrunner in the campaign against Sudhir Chaudhary to bar him from speaking at the ICAI Abu Dhabi Chapter’s event. She even posted fake news that Sudhir was dropped from the list of speakers.