Republican presidential contender Donald Trump called to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. His comments against Hispanics and Latinos have angered people in the past, but his recent remarks about Muslims ignited the internet with responses.
What must be realized is that a lot of what Donald Trump says is showmanship. For his history highlights a deep and decade-long connection with Muslim investors. And considering the investments made by Muslims in the United States, he’d be a fool to ban them from entering the country.
Muslims and the U.S. economy
Money from Muslim-faith countries has both shaped and strengthened the American economy for years. Saudi Arabian private sector investments in the USA exceeded $400 billion in 2009, according to the Saudi Arabian Embassy in D.C. In September, Saudi Arabia offered $2 trillion worth of investment opportunities to American businessmen and women.
The investment offered covered a variety of industries, including healthcare, roadworks, transport, and real estate. Muslim-faith countries provide a massive boost to the American tourist industry, with a total expenditure of $6.7 billion, making Middle Eastern travellers the highest spenders per unit visitor, according to the U.S. State department.
What Muslims have done for America is keep its economy alive and growing. It was in fact a Muslim man whose investment helped keep the Trump Organization alive back in 1995. After a period of difficulty when the firm was struggling to pay off creditors,
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal took majority control over (then) Trump-owned New York’s Plaza Hotel group, and gave him “breathing room with bank creditors” as reported by The New York Times.
Muslims in U.S. society
But Muslim contribution to the United States is not limited to money. Some of the greatest contributors to American culture are in fact Muslim. The iconic boxer Muhammad Ali was never ashamed to hide his beliefs, nor was acclaimed rapper and musician Lupe Fiasco.
Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid was behind the unique design of The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in Michigan. Malcolm X, arguably one of the most notable civil rights activists in the 1960s, was also Muslim. His activism left a legacy in the African-American community until this day.
And let’s not forget Rima Fakih, the winner of Donald Trump’s very own Miss America beauty pageant in 2010. The impact these personalities, and hundreds of others like them, have had on deeply-rooted socio-cultural issues is immeasurable.
Rima Fakih opened the dialogue about immigrants. Lupe Fiasco started a non-profit to support entrepreneurs. Muhammad Ali inspired a generation of athletes who stayed off the streets. Muslims helped shape American society for the better.
Trump loves Muslims - do they love him back?
If a light is shone on Trump’s personal investments, it is clear that he is a huge fan of Dubai and Qatar. But whether or not such countries will remain fans of doing business with Trump is a question that will only be answered with time.
Since the anti-Muslim comments were made a few days ago, GCC-based businesses and partners expressed their dismay with Trump’s comments, either publicly or tacitly. Damac Properties removed Trump’s face and name off advertising billboards, to which he had licenced his name.
Landmark Group suspended sales of his products. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who previously conducted business with Trump in the 1990s, called Donald a “disgrace not only to the GOP, but to all of America” and recommended he withdraw from the race.
How long this boycott and shutdown of Donald Trump will last is unclear at this point. He is yet to apologize for his statements, and instead he reiterated them, despite the backlash. Trump has previously said that he doesn’t “have the time to be politically correct”.
Despite growing popularity in the polls, the probability that Trump wins the Republican Party nomination seems unlikely. And once he is out of the presidential race, maybe Trump will have time to be politically correct – in an attempt to win his business partners back.
Yara al Wazir is a humanitarian activist. She is the founder of The Green Initiative ME and a developing partner of Sharek Stories. She can be followed and contacted on twitter @YaraWazir