Donald Trump might talk a big game when it comes to the Middle East and Muslims, but his own record tells a much more convoluted tale than he might like you to think. Despite disseminating a statement this week that suggested a ban on all Muslims from entering the United States, as well as earlier comments in which he promised to deport all Syrian refugees if elected president, Trump's companies and business connections in Muslim countries have made the 2016 GOP presidential candidate very rich over the past few decades. It's something the billionaire real estate tycoon would probably like you to forget (or not mention to your Facebook friends).
"Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred [Muslims have for the United States] is beyond comprehension," Trump claimed in Monday's statement, which was emailed to supporters and press outlets. "Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life."
He added that the only way to prevent terrorism was to ban Muslims from entering the country at all, "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," citing a flawed Center for Security Policy study which claimed to prove that half of Muslims in the United States held radicalized, jihadist beliefs.
However, within The Trump Organization's own coffers lies a wealth of cash, much of it stemming from real estate licensing ventures both domestic and abroad, which according to a 2006 Forbes report accounts for $562 million of his estimated $3 to $6 billion dollar net worth — the largest slice of the Trump Organization's financial pie. At least a few of those ventures are in largely Muslim countries.
Here's where some of that money's coming from.
Trump Towers Istanbul, Istanbul
While Trump himself is not the official owner of any licensed properties, he is paid generously to market them in his name. According to Forbes, "In exchange for the use of his name, Trump gets 8 percent to 15 percent of other developers' gross condo sales" equating to millions of dollars. As one critical Twitter user pointed out, "FYI, there is a Trump Tower in Istanbul. Which is in Turkey. Which is a Muslim country." She's not wrong either: The Trump Organization does indeed list a residential structure in Istanbul under its official licensed properties. According to a 2007 State Department report, 99 percent of Turkish citizens identify themselves as Muslim, with a majority of specifically Sunni Muslims.
Trump International Golf Club, Dubai
According to The Trump Organization's official site, the company owns license agreements for the soon-to-be-unveiled, 7,205-yard, par 71 International Gold Club in the prosperous city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, a country that is strictly Muslim. In 2007, the State Department's International Religious Freedom Report stated that, of the 4.1 million permanent residents living in the U.A.E., a whopping 85 percent identified as Sunni Muslim. Fifteen percent identified as Shia Muslim.
With strict Shariah law governing the city's inhabitants, including a ban on public kissing and cuddling, homosexuality (for which the punishment is death or, in less-serious cases, psychological treatment and counseling), and indecent clothing, it's a wonder a scandal-ridden businessman like Trump ever got his foot in the door, all things considered.
Trump World Golf Club, Dubai
Not satisfied with holding the purse strings for just one magnificent golf course in Dubai, The Trump Organization's 18-hole, championship World Golf Club (designed by golf legend Tiger Woods) is due to be completed in 2016, under the watchful eye of DAMAC Properties, a Middle Eastern property development company based in the U.A.E. So what does DAMAC think about Trump's recent anti-Muslim commentary?
"We would like to stress that our agreement is with the Trump Organization as one of the premium golf course operators in the world," said DAMAC Senior Vice President Niall McLoughlin in an interview with CNN on Tuesday. "As such, we would not comment further on Mr. Trump's personal or political agenda, nor comment on the internal American political debate scene."
Looks like Trump lucked out... this time, at least.