A Habib Al Mulla supporter raises his objections. And he's recording everything.

Baker McKenzie has said it will "continue investing in and developing" its business in the UAE after splitting from its top lawyer in the region over his anti-gay tweets.

Dr Habib Al Mulla was the firm's most senior partner in the Gulf, where he leads Habib Al Mulla & Partners. The tie-up between the two firms via a Swiss verein structure gave Bakers the unique advantage of access to the local courts.

A spokesperson for Baker McKenzie said it was now establishing an interim management team in Dubai as it negotiated the break-up from Habib Al Mulla and his firm, and looking for a new office.

"Baker McKenzie is proud of our rich and longstanding history in the Gulf region, dating back over 40 years, and we are now establishing an interim management team in the UAE to take the business forward", said the spokesperson.

"We will continue investing in and developing our business in the UAE, building on recent hires in areas including M&A, employment, data privacy and tax. In addition, we have been discussing the relocation of our Dubai office for some time, likely to the Dubai International Financial Centre, where many of our clients have their operations".

"We remain firmly committed to our clients and people in the UAE and wider Gulf region."

The rift between Bakers and its most senior lawyer in the UAE occurred when RollOnFriday uncovered tweets in which Al Mulla posted to his 61,000 followers that the "problem with homosexuality in the West is not only in the ugliness of the act", but that by committing "his evil act" a gay person "is disobeying the Creator". He went on to include homosexuality alongside drugs, "pedophilia and atheism" in a list of problems exported by the West.

Baker McKenzie, which states on its website that it is "proud to be known as an LGBT+ inclusive workplace", decided to sever ties with Al Mulla. His ejection generated an impassioned online response from supporters, many of whom declared that they were proud of the lawyer for his stance. Some went so far as to call for a boycott of Bakers.

bakers gulf


Several of Al Mulla's defenders elaborated on their objection to homosexuality, tying it to their religious faith. A typical response opined that "homosexuality is a setback for human instinct, and a dangerous deviation from the laws of God almighty". Others were even more overt.



After the story broke, Al Mulla tweeted, "The news of Baker's separation is true and we will operate as an independent office and we will continue to serve our customers as we always have. I remain silent and will not comment on what happened out of respect for the relationship that was between us".

However, he later followed up with a series of tweets stating, “I would like to thank all the brothers and sisters who have expressed their support for me in my stance on the issue of the video and homosexuality". 

"My personal opinions, which I shared, represent my beliefs and convictions that stem from my religion and core values. I’m very proud of it and will not apologise over my comments. Although we are a tolerant society and welcome individuals who think differently than we do, we reject any ideas or beliefs that are imposed on us or that go against our Islamic ideals".

He also posted on Twitter in support of people who referred to Bakers as "losers" who gave in to "leftist woke extremists".

thanks mulla


Al Mulla did not respond to a request for comment.

Tip Off ROF


Anon 16 September 22 09:16

Tolerant and accepts those who think differently, but totally rejects any view that doesn’t agree with the doctrine of Islam.   You couldn’t make this up. 

Anonymous 16 September 22 09:35

I'm expecting these comments to be full of crazy rants from homophobic Emiratis very soon. A shame - but understandable - that Bakers chases profits and still wants to operate in such a backwards culture.


Anonymous 16 September 22 10:24

Let’s not forget that the film Philadelphia was based on Bakers.  It has form on this stuff.

Anon 16 September 22 10:24

These bigotted nutjobs do make one salient point.  Theirs are the "societal values" which are indeed shared by a majority of their population.  It seems there is an inherent conflict between the supposed values of western law firms and their operations in this, and many other, parts of the world.  As economic power continues to shift away from "the West", it seems inevitable that those who want to continue to chase global profits will be forced to toe the line.  

US elitist 16 September 22 10:41

I don’t understand the reaction from the management committee - the poor old man is entitled to his views, even if we disagree with such views, given that it’s lawful in the UAE to express an opinion on homosexuality.  

Not Matthew 16 September 22 10:57

I still can't believe it!

In 2022 Muslims believe in all of the things that they have always clearly said that they believe, on the basis that their holy book tells them that those are the things to believe. Remarkable!

It's just so astonishing to me - Muslims genuinely believe in Islam. Even though they must know that those beliefs contradict the opinions of self-styled progressive Westerners. Can you believe that they weren't just putting it all on as some kind of elaborate charade for us while we were there on holiday! 

And then, get this, they aren't afraid to say what they believe out loud. They're just out there, on the internet, saying what they believe in broad daylight. Even though they must know that well to do liberals like me will tell them off for doing it.

Isn't that amazing?! Is anyone else as shocked as I am? 

Muslims, really into Islam. Like, for real. Who knew?!

STFU 16 September 22 11:11

I think people are free to hold an option which is bigoted and hateful, if that's how they interpret their religion. Just keep your hate to yourself and off social media if you want a relationship with a UK / US law firm.

Anonymous 16 September 22 11:24

If you join any business with a set of stated values and policies, then if you act in a way that contravenes those values and breaks those policies you are either warned or asked to leave, depending on the scale of the contravention. Being a partner or chair of something does not make you special or exempt. Don't take the job if you won't comply with the policies and don't share the stated values. And the free speech brigade is as usual mixing up freedom of speech with freedom from responsibility and consequences.

Anonymous 16 September 22 11:31

@Not Matthew 16 September 22 10:57

It is hard to tell if you are ironical or not. Anyways: Europe prior to the Age of Enlightenment was not entirely different from what you describe, where the Pope issued his edicts, and nobody dared to oppose these. Beheading was common and the lands were ablaze with women at the stakes as well as books. Few in our times realise the enormity of that transition in mindset, and not everyone appreciate it.

Anonymous 16 September 22 11:32

1. Rollonfriday did an investigation. Legal newspapers are rubbish and never do anything but that which is fed for them. Commend individuals for going above and beyond and doing their job well.

2. Bakers had no choice but to fire further to wider message. They are an international firm and its values are Western. People who work for a Western firm may not agree with its values but you cannot publicly air values contrary to them. Public statements at odds with the message offends people deeply and affects reputation in wider market.

3. Being anti-gay is a Western value and this is a good action for the message it sends out to international firms - stick by your values at least publicly please.

4. The UAE is a Muslim country and its citizens have the right to do and believe whatever they want. I understand how some Muslims are upset and how some on the other side are upset - ultimately the UAE governs itself and it is simply not ok to be gay according to the wider morals and laws held in society. That still continues. If you live in the UAE, even if you believe certain Islamic precepts are wrong, it is simply not your place to air that; you should respect the culture and respect the way of doing things as a foreigner and guest in the country. That logic also applies somewhat to international firms. You are really still a Western employee.

Anonymous 16 September 22 11:32

"Just keep your hate to yourself and off social media if you want a relationship with a UK / US law firm."

... and I think probably keep your UK / US law firm to yourself and out of countries which have well advertised laws that you would consider it 'hateful' to comply with or endorse. Surely?

Or is this is just a thing that They do for Our benefit?

I mean, speaking plainly, is this a relationship in which we envision that the West will gradually roll its values over the natives'; who just need to keep their opinions quiet while that is done to them? In which we can go and make money in far-off lands; while those around us just keep their views to themselves whenever they are in a public place that we might hear them? And in which everyone ends up sharing the set of opinions that would fit in at an Islington dinner party if they know what's good for them?


I don't agree with Mr Al Mulla's views here, but there's a very colonial twang to some of the commentary on his right to express them and receive punishment for them (and compare and contrast people's enthusiasm for freedom of speech here compared to over on the threads about protesting the Queen's funeral).

STFU 16 September 22 12:23

I think it is a false narrative to act like being LGBT / having respect for LGBT rights is purely a "western" concept. It's offensive to the many LGBT people who happen to be in homophobic societies to suggest they are just tapping into some kind of western concept rather than it being an innate part of their personhood, and adopting a certain unwavering religious or cultural outlook is the answer (i.e. if only they turned to God, they'd be "fixed").

Anonymous 16 September 22 13:50

"It's offensive to the many LGBT people who happen to be in homophobic societies to suggest they are just tapping into some kind of western concept rather than it being an innate part of their personhood"

I'm sure they do.

But that notion that one's sexuality is an 'innate part of personhood' is an inherently Western concept in and of itself*. 

In the Gulf they just don't see it the same way, and there's no logical way to dress up our line of thinking as being objectively right and theirs as objectively wrong. It's pure Western arrogance to even try (just think, how convenient that you should have been born into the society which embodies the natural end point for all human morality and adopted the one correct set of views).

So while I'm sure it's highly offensive to homosexuals to hear that, Muslims will simply remind you that it's very offensive to them to hear the opposite. Then they'll look at you as if you were a complete crank if you try to argue that your sexuality is somehow a more 'inherent' part of your personhood than their solemnly held faith.

If you don't like their way of thinking (and I don't either) then don't go to the Gulf.

But there is no option of taking the Big Gulf Money without bending to the Bad Gulf Values.



*and a slightly woolly one at that, which we are very comfortable pointing solemnly to for LGBT stuff, but which we'd recoil in horror from if paedophiles ran the same line of thinking.


STFU 16 September 22 14:56

There are gay Muslims too. I know, I know - shocker. You may need a little sit down to process that.

Homosexuality was not invented by the West.

Anonymous 16 September 22 16:40

There are gay muslims in the same way as there are Hindus who like a Big Mac from time to time.

Good for them. But don't expect a glowing personal reference from their local imam any time soon.



Or for them to be able to safely call themselves gay muslims in any country actually run by muslims... but let's put that kind of trivial detail aside for now.

They're definitely muslims. Sure.

Goethe Cash 16 September 22 17:26

Putting the rights and wrongs to one side, Bakers’ hand was forced. You can’t market yourself as a rainbow flag carrier and then do nothing when a senior partner contradicts your branding. Not sure there’s much more to say on this.

SecularJurist 16 September 22 18:35

It is grossly hypocritical for Islamists/Muslims to accuse people of Islamaphobia for criticising bigoted, anti-LGBT views or anything 'Western' which doesn't accord with so-called Islamic values. It is also a position adopted by a privileged left-wing elite in the UK.

Islamists cite anti-Western epithets and talk about colonialism. The basis of all religion is hypocrisy, bigotry and special privileges. If one doesn't belong to a specified religious group, one is an outlier, a non-person and not deserving of respect. Some people are more equal than others.

Religion is a form of totalitarianism similar to that of the USSR, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. One shouldn't specifically target  Islam, but all religions. It is therefore not a racial thing, but a question of values.

One is not surprised by the Islamist rhetoric in these news feeds. Not living in or doing business in a country due to disagreement with its values cuts both ways. Accordingly, Islamists should reconsider coming to the 'West' if they dislike laws that outlaw discrimination against people with 'protected characteristics', and whose lifestyles revolve around cafes, restaurants or living with or sleeping with someone to whom one is not married or who is of the same sex, or both sexes.

France, Germany, Holland, Denmark and other enlightened countries in the West have secularism written into their constitution or their laws. The happiest country in the world is 'atheist' Denmark.

LGBT-phobia in the Mid E/Gulf is to Western ears is as much a no-no as racism and using the 'N-word' is in the west.

Values, values.

The Mid E/ Gulf States are medieval theorocracies. 

All of the Abrahamic religious tracts were written by bigoted middle-aged men who couldn't get any sex. The pages of said texts are obsessed with it.

The West is far from perfect, but at least they don't live in the Fourteenth Century.

BM should get out of there.


Bakers Tom Hanks 16 September 22 18:52

@anon 10:24 I thought you were joking!!

it’s true! 
“The successful young lawyer sued the world's largest law firm, Baker & McKenzie, alleging he had been fired because he had AIDS. He died in 1987 after testifying at the trial against the firm but before the case was decided in his favor.”

Anonymous 17 September 22 19:35

So things like human rights are "colonial"? And this even if these countries have signed the convention?

MaithaUae 18 September 22 10:41

What is completely being ignored is that the video that caused all of this didn't even have a gay message. AlMulla interpreted it as such all on his own and accused the 9 women of being gay. 

Ash 19 September 22 14:10

the homophobe in the second pic would do well to discover a bidet hose and learn some hygiene, and the guy lost me when he said "A civilisation without values...".

He may as well be quoting every Gulf country (bar Oman) when saying that.  We're not much better given we're arming Saudis against Yemen, but at least constitution doesn't quote medieval lies of child molestor.

Barsac 20 September 22 13:56

Roll on Friday should be ringing round all the other UK and US firms who have a substantive presence in the UAE and asking them what their stance is on LGBT rights at their organisation in the region. I would be intrigued to see the responses.

Related News