A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, January 4, 2010

Now it's the Burj Khalifa bin Zayed

Okay, it's not the Burj Dubai anymore. It's the Burj Khalifa bin Zayed, named for the President of the UAE who also happens to be the ruler of Abu Dhabi. What makes Dubai name its pride and joy for the ruler of Abu Dhabi?

Twenty billion here, twenty billion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money, to paraphrase the late Senator Everett Dirksen. And money talks. Debt walks. Beggars can't be choosers. Now we know the interest on the bailout, I suspect. Or else it's really just excessive Arab politeness. Or flattery. And the ruling families, the Nahayans and the Maktums, are distant kinfolk, both members of the larger Bani Yas tribal group. Maybe it's just cousinly compliments.

I'm still betting some of the debt will get canceled. Call me a cynic if you must.

Later: a commenter sends me to Qur'an Sura II (Al-Baqara), aya 280:
2:280 If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time Till it is easy for him to repay. But if ye remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew.


LJ Marczak said...

I believe that appropriate chapter and verse is Sura Al Baqara Aya 280.

Abu 'Arqala said...

I was once at a seminar on Islamic banking.

There was a panel of six banks. A hypothetical question was posed.

Suppose you have made a loan to an individual for a truck. The man is not wealthy and the truck is his sole means of income. The truck is stolen. As an Islamic bank, what do you do?

Of the six banks, only one banker (from Jordan Islamic Bank) said that he would forgive the loan. When there is a compound phrase, one element has to dominate.