Friday, 1 August 2008


Only half the Hotel Family Holt now remain in the Middle East, but for the last 16 of our almost 30 years in and around the Arabian Gulf, Yemen and Turkey - we that remain have lived in Dubai. Numerous articles and blogs are dedicated to the phenomenal growth of this young city, tracking its progress (?) from tiny sheikhdom and trading port to global business and leisure destination. This isn't about to become another, merely an excuse to share the irony of the sign above. And get this out of the way.

The name Bin Ladin to many readers will conjure-up an image of the World's most evil and, currently, most wanted fugitive. To us and many other Gulf expats, Bin Ladin the construction giant are significant contributors to the startling growth and modernity of Dubai and elsewhere in the region.

After 9/11, fed by the misrepresentation of Fox News (don't get me started) and other news media spawned the perception that as a race, Arabs were 'Terrorists' and Islam became inseparable in the minds of many from 'Fundamentalism'. The truth is, from a nominally christian family that has chosen to live their lives in Islamic societies for so long, among the kindest, gentlest, smartest, most generous and hard working people we have ever met, have been muslims.
There, I've said it now.

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