- The Indian American, who profiles himself a "Proud Hindu," has apologized for the now-deleted anti-Muslim and anti-Sikh posts.
New York lawmakers, including Gov. Kathy Hochul, have condemned Vibhuti Jha, the Republican candidate in the 16th Assembly District in Nassau County on Long Island, for his anti-Muslim and anti-Sikh tweets. The Indian American has since apologized for his racial rhetoric.
The now-deleted tweets, recovered by Newsday, were written between 2019 and February 2022. According to the daily, a Nov. 17, 2019 tweet by Jha agreed that “unfortunately Islam has no concept of reciprocity & respect for others. Unless sharia slavery goes nothing will change … Extremism is in islamic [sic] theology, sadly, practicsed [sic] by all.”
The article included a Dec. 13, 2020 tweet as well. “Hindus are inclusive faith & non discriminatory in practice — Christianity & Islam are not inclusive at all & believe in their sense of false ‘own superiority,” he wrote. “They reckon celebration of their festivities as a sign of Hindu inferiority!”
In a Dec. 28, 2020, post, the 70,-year-old of Port Washington, said: “The asylum racket for US immigration by Sikhs is real — it must be exposed. Those fake asylum seeks are required to stand and protest ANY thing against India!”
The last tweet was posted on Feb. 16. “Islam might consider fighting its own definition of who they are! That will help the rest of humanity!!”
Jha, a strategic adviser at the Seattle-based Human Potential Project, a management consulting company, eventually apologized. In a statement to Newsday, Jha said he was “deeply sorry” for the tweets. “My goals and priorities in life are focused on bringing people together and celebrating diversity. What’s more, I am focused on supporting different views and perspectives.”
On social media, he explained the reason behind deleting the tweets. “I deleted a tweet that appeared several months ago forwarded by someone to me,” he wrote. “I believe some of the Muslim groups were unhappy about the content & comparison made therein. I u/s the joke didn’t go down well. I confirm the intent was never to hurt anyone.”
In a follow-up post, he added that he has “very good Muslim friends.” He said they “share mutual respect for each other and share jokes and laughter in these difficult times. friendship is all about sharing joy, anger and move the life forward. We have to face our challenges together.”
On his Twitter profile, Jha describes himself as: “Proud Hindu. Sanatan dharm need of the time for the entire world. Performance based culture alone will help India the most.”
Jha is running against incumbent Democrat Gina Sillitti. She said in a statement that it was “disappointing and concerning to discover that my opponent has been spewing hateful rhetoric towards our Muslim and Sikh neighbors for years.”
The 16th Assembly District covers the North Shore communities of Great Neck, Manhasset, Port Washington, Lake Success, Herricks and parts of New Hyde Park, Roslyn, East Hills and Old Westbury.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul condemned Jha’s tweets as well. “Racism and Islamaphobia do not reflect our New York values. I strongly condemn this hate — there is no place for it in our state.”
Nassau GOP spokesman Mike Deery issued a statement. “We stand strongly against all acts of hate, as well as hate-fueled language,” he wrote. “We are united with Muslim and Sikh communities who have been the subject of disgusting, uninformed and hateful tweets,” he added. “The Nassau County Republican Committee condemns this ugly display in the strongest possible terms.”
Muslims for Progress, a grassroots coalition of Muslim American professionals, business owners and civil servants across New York City and its suburbs, thanked Assemblywoman Sillitti “for standing up against hate, bigotry and Islamophobia.” The group said “the kind of hate spewed by Vibhuti Jha has no place in our community. hope we unite across the political spectrum to condemn such atrocious comments and refuse to vote for such a person.”
New York State Sen. Kevin Thomas wrote that Jha’s “racist hate speech does not represent the South Asian Community in New York.”
Zohran Kwame Mamdani, New York State Assemblymember for District 36, tweeted that Jha’s ” disgusting words” demonstrate the “Republican vision for Albany.”