A leading Gulf retailer has stopped selling products from the brand owned by US presidential hopeful Donald Trump after his controversial call to bar Muslims from entering the United States.
But Trump’s prestigious golf club being developed in Dubai appeared to have withstood, so far, calls to boycott the property tycoon, as his UAE partner sought to separate business from his political statements.
Dubai-based Lifestyle said it was pulling Trump-branded products from its chain of home decor stores across the region, because it “values and respects the sentiments of all its customers”.
“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 decor range,” Lifestyle chief executive Sachin Mundhwa said in a statement received by AFP Wednesday.
The chain — which has 160 stores across the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan — sells a collection of Trump products that reportedly includes room decor, bath accessories, lighting, decorative mirrors, and jewellery boxes.
Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, made the provocative remarks after last week’s shooting that left 14 dead in California by a Muslim couple said to have been radicalised.
Dubai’s DAMAC Properties, which has partnered with the billionaire to build Trump International Golf Club, distanced itself from his remarks but signalled that the business tie-up was unaffected.
“We would like to stress that our agreement is with the Trump Organisation as one of the premium golf course operators in the world,” senior vice president Niall McLoughlin said in a statement emailed to AFP.
“As such we would not comment further on Mr. Trump’s personal or political agenda, nor comment on the internal American political debate scene,” he said.
The Trump golf club in Dubai is scheduled for completion next year. The 18-hole course is part of a large project for luxury villas and mansions being developed by DAMAC.
The latest controversial statement by Trump, in which he called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” has fuelled calls in the Gulf to cut business ties with him.
“Muslim consumers in the Middle East have absolutely no say in next year’s US presidential election — but they can still vote with their wallets,” wrote Ed Attwood in Arabian Business magazine.
A top Dubai security official, General Dahi Khalfan, said Trump should not be doing business in the UAE.
“If he doesn’t want Muslims to come to the US, why does he want to do business with the Muslims in the UAE?” he said, speaking to the 7DAYS newspaper.
The Gulf News daily likened Trump to the Islamic State group.
“His hate sustains the toxic atmosphere of Islamophobia and his extremism is not different from that of Daesh,” it wrote on its front page, using an Arabic acronym for IS.