Monday, 29 June 2009

Dubai: Short Skirts And Sexual Debauchery

Dubai prides itself on it's multicultural and mixed communities and the fact that so far they have not been a victim of a terrorist attack. But don't hold your breath.....

On the cultural front in Dubai, locals are confronted by a very foreign culture at every turn. Expats flaunt short skirts and skimpy tops and get drunk on the beach, yet local female students require a pass-card to leave the university campus in fully covered black garb. Fashionable restaurants only permit Western clothing and turn away men in Arab costume. Friday is the holy day in Islam, but it’s the day of drunk partying and sexual debauchery for Westerners. And there is almost no cultural integration between the locals and the foreigners.

What would happen if just one act of terrorist violence targeted expat tourists or resident professionals?

International investment would dry up; the million tourists who flock there to shop and sun themselves each year would melt away; the footballers and pop stars who have bought exclusive villas on the new Palm Islands development, such as Michael Owen and Rod Stewart, would doubtless move to safer shores.

Moreover, since Dubai is the Middle East’s cosmopolitan melting pot, and its experiment with Islamic capitalism could become the blueprint for surrounding Arab states, its failure would have dire consequences for the entire region.

But it could happen.......

Halal Mortgages.....Whatever Next

It is against Islamic law to pay or receive interest, this has been a huge problem for Muslims living in Britain. When it came to home buying it was only the very rich, who could afford to buy a home outright. Fortunately however many banks and building societies are starting to recognise this as a problem and are offering an alternative.

There are two options available to Muslims:

• The Murabaha (Deferred sale finance) Mortgage
• The Ijara (lease to own) Mortgage

The Murabaha Mortgage:

This is only really an option for individuals/families who have a fair amount of capital behind them, because it is a condition of this Mortgage package that you are expected to pay (circa.) 20% of your home’s value, on the day of purchase. However from that day the house will be registered as your own. You may pay off any debt that is outstanding on your home at any point. This package offers a fixed repayment period that is agreed between you and your lender, any a monthly repayment amount that is fixed for the term of your mortgage.

So how does the Murabaha Mortgage work?; When you find the house that you wish to buy, you arrange a sale price with the vendor as normal, however the bank pays the purchase price, then immediately sells the house to you at a higher price (the higher price is determined by the original price of the property, and the repayment period that you will have agreed with the lender), minus the percentage you pay as deposit.

The Ijara Mortgage:

This is a slightly more popular choice of mortgage, as you do not need a large amount of capital behind you to set up this mortgage, it is also slightly more flexible than its counterpart. An extra benefit to this type of mortgage is that it can even be taken out to replace an existing interest mortgage. The amount you pay each month is usually fixed yearly. The outstanding balance can be paid off at any time (usually) without incurring any penalties.

So how does the Ijara Mortgage work?; As with the Murabaha mortgage, you find a property that you wish to buy, and agree a purchase price with the vendor, the difference is that; your lender will then purchase, and gain ownership of the property. You will enter into a lease agreement with the lender. Each month you will be expected to pay rent to your lender and a contribution towards the purchase of your property.