The Emirates strikes back: leaders and business partners hit out at Trump over 'Muslim ban' furore
From Landmark Group to the Dubai police chief, the Republican presidential candidate's controversial comments have attracted a backlash across the UAE. We also take a look at his business dealings and partnerships across the Muslim world.
In the wake of Donald Trump's controversial call to ban Muslims from the US, several high profile UAE leaders and businessmen have hit out at the Republican presidential candidate.
\nWe also look at how some of his business partners have reacted and his various business dealings in the Middle East and across the Muslim world.
Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan bin Tamim, head of General Security for the Emirate of Dubai, hit out at Trump’s comments, saying they were “against human rights” and he was unlikely to ever be elected to the White House.
\n“He will not be president of the US,” Khalfan told 7DAYS newspaper.
\n“Take it from me, he will not be president at all.”
\n“How will he do it? It is not easy,” he said of Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US.
\nWhen asked about Trump’s business dealings in the UAE, the police chief added: “If he doesn’t want Muslims to come to the US, why does he want to do business with Muslims in the UAE?”
Mishal Kanoo, chairman of UAE conglomerate The Kanoo Group, also told 7DAYS: “I’m hoping it is a message for us here to understand that when we brand one of our names here we have to take into careful consideration who the person is because that person is only going to do what they think is right for themselves.
\n"We should be intelligent enough to recognise that this gentleman who may be good at his business is obviously playing party tricks. He is playing on sentiments so he can win an election.
\n“If I accept someone’s insults and still do business with them... What a person who makes a statement like this is saying is we don’t count. Of course I feel insulted.”
Dubai billionaire businessman Khalaf Al Habtoor, who described Trump as “a breath of fresh air among usual suspects” in August, has retracted his comments.
\nSpeaking this week to NBC News he added: "When he was talking about Muslims, attacking them... I had to admit I made a mistake in my supporting Mr. Trump," he said.
\n"He is creating a hatred between Muslims and the United States of America."
\nExtremists like ISIS "will thank Mr. Trump for his comments — this is very dangerous what he is doing to the United States," Al Habtoor added.
\n“I was wrong about Donald Trump and I don’t mind admitting it,” he wrote in The National newspaper on November 25.
One of the Middle East’s largest retailers, Landmark Group announced it has stopped selling Trump-branded products, following the Republican presidential candidate’s controversial call to ban Muslims from the US.
\nThe 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.
\n“As one of the most popular home decor brands in the Middle East, Lifestyle values and respects the sentiments of all its customers,” Lifestyle CEO Sachin Mundhwa said, in a statement sent to Arabian Business.\n“In light of the recent statements made by the presidential candidate in the US media, we have suspended sale of all products from the Trump Home décor range.”
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.
\n“The statement Mr Trump made on the campaign trail is unfortunate. Given his diverse business interests in the region, we hope that he will reconsider his stand,” the firm said, in a statement send to Arabian Business.
Dubai-based Damac Properties, which is building two Trump-branded golf courses outside of Dubai, distanced itself from the developer.
\n“We would like to stress that our agreement is with the Trump Organization as one of the premium golf course operators in the world,” Damac said in a statement.
\n“As such, we would not comment further on Mr Trump’s personal or political agenda, nor comment on the internal American political debate scene.”
\nTrump is pictured above with Damac chairman Hussein Sajwani at the launch of the Trump International Golf Club Dubai in 2014.
In addition to the UAE, Trump also has dealings in other parts of the wider Middle East and the Muslim world.
\nThe Trump Hotel and Tower in Baku, the capital of oil-rich Azerbaijan - which is 95 percent Muslim - was launched in 2014 with local partner Anar Mammadov, a 34-year-old billionaire playboy whose father serves as Azerbaijan's transportation minister.
\nIt was originally scheduled to open in 2015.
Trump Towers Istanbul, which consists of two conjoined towers containing offices amd residences, is another of his branded properties. Qatar Airways has links to Trump's business as it has leased offices at Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in Manhattan since 2008.
\nTrump also attended a party in 2007 to mark the airline's launch of flights to New York.
\nHe is pictured above with the airline's CEO Akbar Al Baker.
May 2014: Trump revealed he has discussed bringing his Miss Universe competition to Dubai, where he says it would be a “great success”.
\n“It’s something we could always discuss; we’ve discussed it briefly,” he said.
\nThe annual competition judges the female contestants on their beauty, with a swimwear and evening gown rounds. They are also interviewed on stage.
\nTrump bought the show – which is one of the most expensive beauty pageants in the world – in 1996.
\n“I would say it absolutely could come here sometime in the future. I think it would be a great success for Dubai,” Trump added at the time.
Trump previously had links to Dubai developer Nakheel but in May 2014 said it was a "smart" move to cancel plans to build a 60-storey tower on Palm Jumeirah when the Dubai property market crashed in 2009.
\nThe billionaire conceded he also was "a bit lucky" to escape the project before construction had started, walking away without any financial loss.\n"The world collapsed and we were really lucky because we didn't start that project," Trump told Arabian Business in an exclusive interview.
\nTrump International Hotel & Tower had been promoted by Nakheel as “the striking centrepiece of the island”, with the mixed-use luxury hotel and residential building destined to become "a landmark icon in Dubai’s skyline”.
\nThe project was first suspended in 2009 as Dubai property prices began to plummet, eventually tumbling an average 60 percent.
May 2014: Trump revealed he wanted to build a luxury hotel in Dubai.
\n“I’d like to build a hotel in Dubai someday; I think building a hotel in Dubai would be a great honour,” Trump said at the time.
\n“I would like to do a true luxury Trump International hotel in Dubai at some point.
\n“I don’t know [when]. We’ve discussed this with a number of people and they would love us to come and do a hotel. We almost did one but the world market crashed and we held off – intelligently, I might add. We should get credit for that.”
May 2015: Ivanka Trump, the executive vice president of development and acquisitions at The Trump Organization and Trump's daughter said she was in the UAE to scout for potential projects in Abu Dhabi.
\n“I’m going to spend some time in Abu Dhabi on the trip while I’m here. I’m driving there this afternoon. We definitely have future plans [for Abu Dhabi] nothing imminent, but it’s a great market... I’ve spent some time there in the past, but I want to familiarise myself with it so, I’m meeting with some old friends and just get an understanding of what’s in the market there.”