NEW YORK, New York - U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump is wooing Muslim investors as he continues to expand his business empire to Muslim countries in the Middle East, Europe and Asia.
Trump, who has major investments in Istanbul in Turkey, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and Bali in Indonesia is a regular visitor to these countries in a bid to further his business interests. At home too he is busy building relationships with Muslim partners including Saudi Prince al-Walid bin Talal Abdulaziz al-said, who he penned his first deal with in 1995.
But that could all change. On Monday the Donald vowed that if elected president of the United States he would ban all Muslims from entering the United States. A quarter of all Muslims, he said, believe violence against Americans is justified.
He described the proposed ban as a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," saying it was necessary "while we figure out what the hell is going on."
"We have no idea who's coming into this country. We have no idea if they love us or hate us. We have no idea if they want to bomb us. By the way, I have friends who are Muslims. They are great people. But they know we have a problem because something is going on, and we can't put up with it, folks, we can't put up with it," he said.
The proposed ban would leave Mr. Trump free to enter Muslim countries at will, but at the same time denying Muslims from entering his country.
At a time when pressure is building on Muslim communities around the world, the Trump edict could not have come at a worse time.
Many in the community, not just Muslims are outraged at the suggestion that billions of people could be restricted from entering one of the largest countries in the world on the grounds of their religious beliefs because of the actions of a miniscule minority. In fact the move defies the international law against "collective punishment."
Nonetheless the measure has brought widespread acclaim from people across the United States, and rather than unhinging Trump's chances of success at the presidential poll next year, many see it as strengthening it.
Meantime just three months ago Trump Enterprises Indonesia announced it had signed an agreement to manage a new "six-star" luxury resort and residential development on Bali's southwest coast, close to the Tanah Lot temple, in Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country and the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world.
The signing of the agreement between the owner of the resort MNC Group and Donald Trump took place in New York in August when a delegation from the owner company, including fellow billionaire Hary Tanoesoedibjo, MNC Group's founder, president and CEO visited New York for a signing ceremony. Under the new ban this could not have happened. Mr Trump would have had to fly to Indonesia, where there is no ban on Americans visiting.
In Dubai, although Trump Tower, a lavish residential and hotel tower planned for Palm Jumeirah was cancelled after the GFC, Trump is back doing business with local listed Dubai property developer Damac Properties, lending his name to hotels and residential developments and a golf course. Located in Damac's Akoya development, Trump Mansions is a 42 million square foot complex comprising luxury mansions, villas, apartments, hotels and a retail complex.
As late as May this year the company was also scouting for projects in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi. "We definitely have future plans for Abu Dhabi, nothing imminent, but it's a great market," Ivanka Trump, Donald's daughter and executive vice president of development and acquisitions at The Trump Organization told local media on May 6 this year.
And across the way in Europe, Trump Towers, is set to become the newest landmark in the historic city of Istanbul. "With two towers rising in Mecidiyekoy, one of the city's most vibrant areas, the property will capture the utmost in luxury," the Trump.com website says. "The residential tower, just under 40 stories, consists of over 200 residences, and will feature the expansive layouts, meticulous eye for design and lavish finishes synonymous with the Trump name."
Turkey is a wonderful country, wonderful for the Trump organisation, but its population is 98 percent Muslim.
The question now is will the Trump Towers, hotels, resorts, apartments and villas across the world be closed to Muslims too? Or should they just be banned from America? Only the Donald knows.