Chains of Sharia Hotels

The recent conversion of a Hyatt Hotel in Cairo into an alcohol-free environment was news enough. But it seems that this Islamic temperance initiative is part of a trend that may even extend into Europe.

Below is an article from yesterday’s Hamburger Abendblatt via Europe News, kindly translated into English by our Austrian correspondent ESW. When you read it, think about where the 2.5% of the profits that goes to “Islamic charities” is likely to end up:

More and more hotels without alcohol

No bars, but separate pools and hijab: Kempinski alone wants to open 30 hotels according to strict [sharia] customs.

Cairo — The Saudi sheikh is not wasting any time. Abul Aziz Al-Brahim orders all employees at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Cairo to destroy 2,500 bottles of alcohol: French wine, champagne, whiskey, and grappa. All of it is disposed of in the sewage canals of the Egyptian megacity. Ever since the owner of the hotel, a relative of Saudi King Abdullah, decided to relieve his guilty conscience last spring, the luxury hotel tells his customers: “We apologize for currently being unable to serve alcohol.” Hyatt International, the hotel management company headquartered in Chicago, is not amused with this puritan clean sweep. So far the Egyptian government has not made up its mind whether to downgrade the five-star hotel to four stars as a result of the decision. The hotel might even lose two stars.

Despite this uproar, hotels boasting sharia compliancy are on the advance. Some hotel chains want to gain a foothold on the European market with this concept. However, the no-drinks concept will be promoted as “healthy and family friendly”, rather than piety according to the prophet Mohammed.

Kempinski alone, one of the most traditional hotel chains in Europe, wants to open more than thirty sharia-compliant hotels in cooperation with Islamic financial corporation Guidance Financial Group, naming these hotels “Shaza”. They will be built in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. There are two reasons for these plans: First, the renaissance of piety in the Islamic world is raising demand for hotels without casinos, bars, and nightclubs. Secondly, there is a rise is Islamic investors who want to invest their money in a morally sound way.

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Hani Laschin, the CEO of the puritanical Jawhara hotels in Dubai, is convinced of the sharia-hotels’ growth potential. “Currently, there are about 5% of hotel in Dubai in this segment, but I am confident that by 2015 we will occupy a quarter of the market”, the Egyptian says. However, not every hotel owner means the same thing when he boasts the sharia-conformity or Islamic atmosphere of his hotel. Situated in Dubai’s famous shopping district Deira, the Jawhara Gardens Hotel does not only lack a bar. The bringing of alcohol into the hotel is also prohibited. “I once had an Iranian lady guest who canceled her reservation when she found out that we would store her duty free alcohol until her departure, saying that in Iran everything is prohibited. She said, ‘Why do you think I came here? I want to taste freedom.’”

In the Jawhara, only women wearing the hijab are allowed to work, even though some of them are not even Muslim. Muslim guests may stay there only if they are married. The porters greet the guests with “Salaam aleikum”, rather than with “Good morning!” The restaurant serves meat that has been slaughtered according to Islamic rituals. And next to the communal pool there is a canopied pool for women only. The annual report is done according Islamic finance: 2.5% of net profit goes to Islamic charities.

There are no dress codes in the Jawhara Gardens Hotel, however. The Chinese pilots and flight attendants, who regularly stay at the hotel during their stopovers, are clad in Bermuda shorts, sitting in the hotel lobby right next to the heavily veiled woman. And a man and a bikini-wearing woman are playing waterball on the pool deck on this oppressively hot day.

Hat tip: Steen.

9 thoughts on “Chains of Sharia Hotels

  1. there is a rise is Islamic investors who want to invest their money in a morally sound way

    There needs to be a similar, if not much greater, rise in investors who boycott all financial and commercial enterprises that pander to Muslim tyranny.

    Much like “green” investment funds and other “Socially Responsible Investing” enterprises, Islamic based ventures need to experience a distinct lack of financial interest in their brand of slow jihad.

  2. Funny how even the strictest (when it suits them) Muslims can act like volunteer firemen at a convention when they’re away on business in a Dhimmi country.

    I have a relative who drives a limo in London. He tells me of picking up Islamic passengers at Heathrow and bringing them to 5-star hotels in downtown. The first thing they do is:

    1) Head for the bar and order a Scotch with ice.

    2) Ring the nearest high-price madam for a slim “real blonde”.

    I guess Sharia is for home and boys-will-be-boys elsewhere!

  3. grainnewale, my boss says the same thing. He has worked all over the world and generally likes all people, but particularly despises the Saudis.
    He recalls that they were all “blood and thunder” muslims at home, but from the moment they boarded the plane to Europe/UK (First Class, of course) — even before taking off (leaving the sacred soil etc..), they were into the whiskey and champagne.

    Oddly, he seemed to find the Gulf Arabs fine. Maybe there are subtle distinctions I haven’t noticed…

  4. Damon-

    I had a similar experience only mine was with Hasidic Jews. I went to a strip bar once in Times Square with my cousin and was astounded to see it full of Hasidm getting lap dances and milling about! So much for the hole in the sheet gag.

  5. I went to a strip bar once in Times Square with my cousin and was astounded to see it full of Hasidm getting lap dances and milling about!

    This is damn hilarious, my sides are splitting with laughter. Looks like a scene from a Woody Allen’s commedy.

    Anyway: a friend of one of my friends, a woman, married recently a Muslim man from Dubai (of course, she had to convert to Islam). First she was told that alcohol is forbidden in order to be a good Muslim wife. Even if she liked to drink a glass of wine from time to time, she finally accepted it. But after a while she discovered that most of the people in her Dubai’s neighborhood had bottles of alcohol in their homes, they drank a lot privately and a few of them were even on the verge of alcoholism. Now, she drinks even more than she used to drink in Romania, because drinking in Dubai is a sort of entertainment… It’s all about hypocrisy.

  6. I believe there’s a difference in the attitude behind it, regarding jews and muslims. A jew is almost overtly commanded to find the good and pelasurable things in life, to enjoy the creation god place them in, or at least that’s my understanding. It would explain why jewish cooking is so famous or, perhaps, infamous. Muslims, in contrast, live in a culture that despises anything pleasurable and sees it as hateful and wrong. When they dally in it the attitude is one of furtive theft.

    Point out to a hassidic jew that what he’s doing might be seen as immoral and he’ll just shrug and say “You only live once”, or maybe draw you into a long argument about what god actually meant. Do the same to a muslim and he’ll cut your throat. 🙂

  7. Armance-

    What is even funnier is that this was in the middle of the day ( I think they were there on their lunch break from the nearby diamond district) and they seemed to have a penchant for the sistas.

  8. Having just read the link to Robert Spenser’s article, is it really too late for England?
    Will they have to fight a bloody war to take back their gov’t and territory?
    Is El Ingles scenario #2 correct? Is #3 closest to the point with the segregation of Mulims in their own particular hell hole in northern England correct?
    I really have no idea but think that #2 seems the most reasonable.
    I can say this; the longer the insanity continues, like calling toddlers racist for their food preferences and measuring the weight and location of garbage bins by the elderly, not to mention touring the streets for “illegal” TV users and turning certain patient’s beds toward Mecca… The longer this keeps up, the more bombastic the native population will become.
    Actually, I expect a riot, much in keeping with scenario #2.

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