It was Pliny the Elder who said “ex Africa semper aliquid novi” (“out of Africa there is always something new”). Were Pliny the Elder alive today, he might very well write “ex Trump semper aliquid novi.” Because Donald Trump provides seemingly limitless material for coverage, causing this blog to descend into a Donald Trump blog. All I need to do is pore over building records and see who owns units in Trump-branded apartments (as I did here and here), and the columns practically write themselves.
This time, I saw that Omar Hadir Al-Farisi is owner of Unit 6U at Trump Place 220. Mr. Al-Farisi is an attorney in New York, but he is also on the board of Gulf International Bank (GIB), based in Bahrain.
Now looking at the bank, one thing in particular stood out. Namely, GIB states that all its business practices comply with Shariah law:
GIB follows a robust Shariah governance mechanism to ensure that all the products and services are duly accredited and in line with Shariah principles. It provides a range of customised solutions for wholesale banking, retail banking, treasury and investment banking customers.
Yep, it turns out Shariah law is a whole lot more than instructions on when to punish people by decapitation: it also applies to financial institutions. GIB takes this so seriously that they actually have two Shariah supervisory boards, one for worldwide and separate one just for Saudi Arabia.
Trump, meanwhile, sharply condemned Shariah law in the very press release announcing his proposed Muslim entry ban: “Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won’t convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women.” Trump also cited a discredited poll from a certified hate group to say that 51% of Muslim Americans supported having the choice to be governed by Shariah law.
And GIB, though based in Bahrain, their majority shareholder is the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, whose stake is almost 100%, which explains the existence of the Saudi-exclusive Shariah compliance board.
What does Trump think about Saudi Arabia? He thinks the country should be paying money to the US. His reasoning being that, according to him, the US is responsible for propping up its government, and getting nothing in return:
They make a billion dollars a day…Saudi Arabia, if it weren’t for us, they wouldn’t be here, They wouldn’t exist…They should pay us. Like it or don’t like it, people have backed Saudi Arabia. What I really mind though is we back it at tremendous expense. We get nothing for it.
So perhaps someone can slip a note under Mr. Al-Farisi’s door, so he can bring it up at the next board meeting.