Emaar chairman calls Donald Trump's talk 'ridiculous'
Another prominent Dubai businessman has spoken out against Trump’s proposed ban of Muslims entering the US.
Mohamed Alabbar is one of the most successful businessmen in the UAE. He’s the founder and chairman of Emaar (the company behind the Burj Khalifa) and the founder of Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs.
What does he think of Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the US? It’s “ridiculous” he says.
Speaking to CNN Alabbar said he’s keeping an eye on the US presidential race because he’s “American educated”. “It’s hilarious, it’s fun, it’s entertaining,” he explained.
But what does he think about Donald Trump saying that “Islam hates” the US?
“I don’t know if he’s saying that for political reasons, but he’s a smart man and that’s so untrue,” Alabbar told CNN.
Alabbar explained that Donald Trump met him when the Burj Khalifa was being constructed to discuss a partnership, which obviously didn’t happen.
“When I met him I thought he was down to earth, a sweet guy. I thought he had good common sense,” Alabbar said.
But then Trump told Alabbar he could do branding for “the tower” Alabbar explains while pointing in the direction of The Burj Khalifa, and that he would charge Emaar a fee for being connected with his name. Alabbar said that was clearly not going to work. “In the Middle East when you say Donald, that age group associates it with Disney World,” he explained of Donald Duck being better known than Donald Trump in the region (pre-Presidential-campaign at least).
Talking about Trump’s March claim that there’s “tremendous hate” from the Muslim world to the US, Alabbar pointed out how strong the ties between the UAE and the US are.
“I think the region loves the US in general… look at the leadership in the region, most people who run government and businesses here were educated in the United States.”
And does Alabbar think Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering America would ever happen?
“I don’t think that will happen,” he replied. “It’s so ridiculous… it could be serving some political agenda for a certain segment of society [for Trump], but I think at the end of the day America has great institutions and I think the result is going to be fine. Even if Mr X, or Mr Y or Mr Trump win I think America is governed by incredible institutions that I don’t think we are going to get to this situation”
And besides, if it does happen, Alabbar pointed out that there are “so many beautiful countries in the world” to visit.
TRUMP’S ANTI-ISLAM STATEMENTS
In a 2011 interview, Trump said this: “The Quran is very interesting. A lot of people say it teaches love… But there’s something there that teaches some very negative vibe… Now I don’t know if that’s from the Quran. I don’t know if that’s from someplace else. But there’s tremendous hatred out there that I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Early December 2015
Late last year he propagated what’s widely considered to be a myth about uninhabitable areas of Paris: “If you look at Paris [it’s] no longer the same city it was. They have sections in Paris which are radicalised where they police refuse to go there because they’re petrified. We have places in London and other places that are so radicalised the police are afraid for their own lives. We have to be very smart and very vigilant.”
Late December 2015
In December he called for the ban of all Muslims travelling to the United States, this led Dubai-based Landmark group to pull all Donald Trump products from their shelves. It also called into question the businessman’s ongoing relationship with Dubai-based developer Damac (which appears to be continuing on as normal for now).
The media statement began with: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
It then quoted him as saying: “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”
After last week’s attacks in Brussels, Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump tweeted, “Incompetent Hillary, despite the horrible attack in Brussels today, wants borders to be weak and open-and let the Muslims flow in. No way!”
OTHER GCC REACTIONS TO TRUMP
Donald Trump at a press conference last month.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
The multi-billionaire Saudi prince expressed his feeling toward the controversial frontrunner for the Republican nomination on Twitter: “You are a disgrace not only to the GOP [Republican Party] but to all America.” Adding: “Withdraw from the US presidential race as you will never win.”
Trump responded with: “Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money. Can’t do it when I get elected.”
Khalaf Al Habtoor
Khalaf Al Habtoor, the chairman of the Al Habtoor group, did a 180 on Donald Trump – and has gone from supporting the politician to calling him a “loose cannon”.
“I call him a loose cannon, very dangerous to the world, very dangerous to the world,” said Al Habtoor when speaking to Bloomberg Markets in May.
The retail giant behind Splash, Centrepoint, Home Centre, Iconic, Emax and many other stores, has removed all Trump Home products from their 195 Lifestyle stores across the Middle East due to his anti-Islam statements. Read more about that here.
Dubai Police Chief
Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the deputy chairman of police and general security in Dubai, took to Twitter to warn that there would be a “clash of civilizations” if Trump won – which references political scientist Samuel P. Huntington’s theory that future wars in the world will be fought between religious and cultural divides rather than country lines.