Business as usual for Trump partners in Dubai, Istanbul

Dubai developer refuses to comment on US Republican front-runner’s call to bar Muslims as joint ventures continue.

trump damac from damac
A rendering of a residence in the $6bn Trump PRVT gated community in Dubai, one of the billionaire's many business ventures in Muslim-majority countries [Damac Properties]

A Dubai luxury property developer has said that it is business as usual regarding a partnership with the Trump Organization, which is run by the Republican presidential front-runner who has called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

“We would like to stress that our agreement is with the Trump Organization 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,” said Damac Properties Senior Vice President Niall McLoughlin in a statement seen by Al Jazeera on Tuesday.

The developer refused a request from Al Jazeera to answer specific questions.

The website for the Trump Organization-managed golf club, which will sit within Damac’s 42 million square foot development “Akoya” and house a 30,000 square foot club house – the largest in Dubai, remained active on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Trump derided over US Muslim ban comment  

A day earlier, 69-year-old Donald Trump, who is the leading candidate for the Republican presidential campaign, called for a “total and complete” block on Muslims entering the US “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.

Though his comments were widely condemned by other politicians and officials, Trump’s business operations in the United Arab Emirates remained intact.

Another of Trump’s ventures in a Muslim-majority country, the Trump Towers in Turkey, also remained open for business.

Donald Trump: Politics as media spectacle

The Istanbul-based residential and office towers in the Sisli district did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment by the time of publishing.

In an interview with Hotelier Middle East in May, Trump’s daughter and executive in the family business, Ivanka, said that she was eyeing Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia as further opportunities to exploit.

“He’s more than happy to make money off Muslims, at the same time attacking them in the most vicious way possible,” Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Relations (CAIR), told Al Jazeera.

When asked whether corporations should take action against Trump based on his recent rhetoric, Hooper said: “I don’t think anything will send a message to him. He seems to be impervious to any logic, only pandering to the lowest common denominator in society.”

‘Trump wants escalation’

He added that it was “incumbent on political leaders to speak out strongly against Trump’s statement that is already having negative implications on ordinary Muslim Americans”.

Trump reiterated his stance on Tuesday in an interview with CNN saying that he “doesn’t care about” the Republican Party leaders who had condemned his idea.

“I’m doing what’s right,” said the presidential hopeful.

Thomas Roulet, senior lecturer in management at King’s College London, said that businesses had a “moral obligation” to respond to Trump’s rhetoric, which some have called “fascist”.

“Businesses not only have a moral obligation to answer this stigmatising discourse – they have a very instrumental reason to do so: immigration is good for business,” he told Al Jazeera.

“Immigrants can answer businesses’ needs for both low- and high-skilled workforces. Despite what is usually thought, US-born workers and immigrants do not compete for the same jobs. The additional supply of workers due to immigration is positively related with the expansion of businesses.”

He added that firms and consumers in Muslim-majority countries should reject Trump’s “racist comments” by ignoring them.

“Answering this stigmatising discourse would be an acknowledgment of that label and would only serve and reinforce his rhetoric,” Roulet said.

“In fact, I bet that he would claim that those that make the effort to answer him must necessarily be guilty of something. Escalation is exactly what he wants, it should definitely not be given to him.”

Follow Anealla Safdar on Twitter: @anealla

Source: Al Jazeera