By Staff writer
Prominent businessman rules out any chance of working with Donald Trump; says he doesn't trust him anymore after US Muslim ban call
Prominent UAE-based businessman Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor has ruled out any chance of working with US presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying he doesn't trust him anymore.
Branding billionaire Trump "the biggest enemy of Islam" over his call to ban Muslims from entering the US, Al Habtoor said he was no longer supporting his bid for power.
In August, Al Habtoor wrote an opinion piece criticising US president Barack Obama for the rise of ISIL and saying Trump would be a welcome breath of fresh air and was "someone prepared to put their money where their mouth is".
But in a video interview with CNN, Al Habtoor said: "I view him as the biggest enemy of Islam. He is a man supporting ISIS... he is encouraging them, this is what they want to hear."
Asked if he would work with Trump, he said: "No, I don't trust him, I don't trust him anymore."
He added: "I think he (Trump) has damaged all his brands in all the Muslim countries. No one will accept him, no one will accept his brands."
His comments comes after one of the Middle East’s largest retailers, Landmark Group, stopped selling Trump-branded products.
The Dubai-based firm signed a deal in February this year to sell items from the Trump Home collection to customers in the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia through its Lifestyle outlets.
However, the group said on Tuesday it would now remove all products from its shelves.
Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the US was the most dramatic response yet by a candidate to last week’s shooting spree by two Muslims who the FBI said had been radicalised. His comments were widely condemned by representatives from both sides of America’s political spectrum.
Separately, Gulf leaders condemned "hostile, racist" remarks against Muslims and Syrian refugees in a statement issued on Thursday, days after Trump's comments.
"The supreme council expressed its deep concern at the increase of hostile, racist and inhumane rhetoric against refugees in general and Muslims in particular," the Gulf Cooperation Council said, referring to a GCC heads of state meeting in Riyadh.
Trump also has a partnership with Dubai’s Al Tayer Group, which opened two Trump Home by Dorya galleries in the UAE in June. The firm called the billionaire real estate mogul’s recent comments “unfortunate” but did not indicate that it would be withdrawing from the partnership.
However, the firm which Trump has perhaps his most significant ties in the region – Damac Properties – refused to criticise the comments.
“We would like to stress that our agreement is with the Trump Organisation as one of the premium golf course operators in the world and as such we would not comment further on Mr. Trump’s personal or political agenda, nor comment on the internal American political debate scene," Damac senior vice president Niall McLoughlin said.
Damac is working with Trump to build two golf courses in Dubai.