brunch

Habib Al Mulla's now free for brunch, if he can find one that's not deviant.


Baker McKenzie has "parted ways" with Dr Habib Al Mulla, its most senior partner in the United Arab Emirates, after a RollOnFriday investigation found he was using Twitter to preach to his 61,000 followers that homosexuality was evil.

Al Mulla is the head of Habib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker McKenzie International via the huge law firm's Swiss verein structure. His Baker McKenzie profile refers to him as one of the UAE's "most highly respected legal authorities" and a "strong advocate for improvement and modernisation of UAE laws". 


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The departure of Al Mulla and potentially his firm, through which Bakers operates in the UAE from offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, represents a significant upset to the global law firm's business. 

In a Twitter thread which Al Mulla posted on Tuesday, he declared in Arabic 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".


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Last week the partner drew hundreds of responses after he commented on a video created to celebrate Emirati Women's Day. The short film depicted several Emirati women explaining how they navigated their society, with one participant encouraging female viewers that, "No matter what you look like or feel inside you are not alone".

 

Al Mulla interpreted the women's testimonies as a dangerous celebration of female independence and as a coded defence and promotion of homosexuality. In a Twitter thread, he described how "there is a children's story for gay marketing entitled 'How You Feel Inside'", and, "as for the phrase 'You are not alone', it is used frequently in gay publications".


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Criticising the women, Al Mulla said, "They have every freedom to wear what they want and express what they want, but they have no right to falsely claim that they represent Emirati women and promote this model. Who gave them the right to promote these ideas in this capacity?"


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He retweeted an alternative clip which showed women with their faces covered acting subserviently to men.

 

Al Mulla was so incensed by what he perceived as gay propaganda in the original Emirati Women's Day film that he suggested other Emirati women "should file a lawsuit against those who appeared in the video on charges of insulting Emirati women".


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The partner even copied in the Twitter accounts of the Dubai and UAE public prosecutors as he asked whether one female participant's declaration that the scandalised reaction to the video was “what she wanted" and "that she will do it again next year" constituted a chargeable offence: "Is this not harming national unity and social peace?" he asked.


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A woman who appeared in the video said in her own social media post that she had received "death threats because I wear skirts". Al Mulla appeared to mock her claim, replying to a person who asked him for his thoughts, "You believed!"


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The lawyer caveated his attacks on the women appearing in the video by clarifying that if the messages he interpreted as pro-gay were scripted by someone else, "they are victims and tools in a larger scheme", and that the "important thing is to search for someone who used his capabilities to shoot and publish a video aimed at destabilising the Emirati social peace. He is more worthy of accountability and punishment". 


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Al Mulla made his feelings even clearer as he engaged with people replying to his tweets. Equating homosexuality with child sex abuse, Al Mulla said "the complete package" from the West "includes homosexuality, and soon drugs (it has begun to be allowed in Western countries), pedophilia and atheism".


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When a fan of Al Mulla's rhetoric replied that "everyone is responsible for protecting the leading generation from homosexuals", the partner replied with the 'thanks' emoji.


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"The call for homosexuality has become public", said another person in response to Al Mulla's anaylsis. "Unfortunately", the lawyer replied. 


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Baker McKenzie states on its website that it is "proud to be known as an LGBT+ inclusive workplace". It also states that it wants "to ensure that all of our people feel included and empowered", which put it in an awkward position with regards to Al Mullah, whose empowerment many staff would regard as unpalatable and in direct conflict with being inclusive of gay people.

After RollOnFriday asked Baker McKenzie for comment on Monday, the firm initiated an investigation which had, by Thursday, resulted in confirmation of his imminent departure.

Baker McKenzie's position in the region is now uncertain, as it appears likely it will be compelled to give up its association with Al Mulla's firm as well.

The incident underlines the potential for crisis in global firms which enshrine progressive ideals in the West, but not in other jurisdictions where it would be controversial - and unprofitable - to promote liberal values.

A Baker McKenzie spokesperson said, "After recent discussions, Baker McKenzie and Dr Habib Al Mulla can confirm they will be parting ways. The separation process is underway, and we remain committed to supporting both clients and employees in the UAE and the wider region".
 
"Baker McKenzie strongly believes that however much we may disagree with the beliefs and personal views of each other, we must find ways to disagree respectfully, encourage inclusive dialogue and to ensure a safe work environment for all", said the spokesperson, adding for the avoidance of doubt: "Any social media comment by Dr. Habib represents his own views and not those of the Firm".

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Comments

Anonymous 09 September 22 08:44

The lawyer doth protest too much, methinks.

Better to come out of the closet than bottle up all that negative energy.

Ally 09 September 22 08:56

One could question the purpose of all the EDI people and their slogans, training sessions, initiatives, celebrations and associations with pressure groups, when they appear to have been ignorant of (or silent on) the actual issues at their employer.

Anonymous 09 September 22 08:56

Quite so, 8.44.  He would be much happier that way, and he would get to widen the circles of his friends.

Solomon 09 September 22 09:07

Fair play to Bakers for living by their values (not that they really had a choice after those tweets) - that is going to sting. 

CheckYourPriveledge 09 September 22 09:55

This article is deeply Islamophobic. 

Where is your respect for other cultures?

For shame.

The Oracle of Delphi 09 September 22 09:59

in the fifth set of photos, is there a difference between @drhabibalmulla and @drhabibmulla handles?

Lydia 09 September 22 10:06

It is a fascinating issue - what variety of views do we allow to be hold in society and who my express them and if there are objective rights and wrongs?  It is nice to see the woke-left getting in knots over these types of things. Let freedom of speech prevail surely whether it is an anti monarchist in the UK, someone (ugh) who supports the UK Labour party, pro or ant abortionists and the expression of anti gay views in the Bible and Koran available at every mosque and church never mind the bibles left in many hotel rooms by some hotel chains.

 

The woke left seem to have lost freedom as a principle and just want the freedom to express the one right superior view they believe all peoples eventually will have when they come to the fold of the always right, the high and mighty morally at the top of the tree.

 

I certainly would not want the UK to return to the days of crimes for homosexuality (which I think only went when I was born) but free speech is a different matter.

Jamie Hamilton 09 September 22 10:12

Oracle: I’m not sure why the handle is displayed differently in my screenshot - it doesn’t appear to display differently visiting the tweet now (ie, it is all from the same account): https://twitter.com/drhabibalmulla/status/1565873407840993280?s=21&t=nD0aOv08795fmjOyZupZJg

Anonymous 09 September 22 10:16

@Lydia Free speech is about freedom from prosecution by the government. It doesn't touch on the free selection of business associations which includes who you accept as your partner in a law firm. 

Anonymous 09 September 22 10:31

@10:16 I think you are confusing US concepts of freedom of speech with the concept of "cancel culture".

As I understand it, removing "cancel culture" means being able to say whatever you want (so long as it is not illegal) without consequence.

(Unless of course what you are saying is progressive in which case you are an unpatriotic work-ist person who needs to be removed from public office and shunned - e.g. Gary Lineker's completely unacceptable posting about raw sewage discharge onto our beaches or the comedian Joe Lycett's decision to make jokes about Liz Truss.) 

Muller 09 September 22 10:37

10:16, Free speech is just as effectively curtailed if a culture is allowed to develop where a business sacks an employee who has done nothing wrong in most people’s eyes, just because a bunch of crybullies on Twitter whips up a storm. Businesses should resist this.
However, there is a line - which might be a business’s internal rules, or in their absence it might be a fair and common sense interpretation of unacceptable behaviour (which is more difficult to identity in a global firm, or any business whose people hold a diverse set of values).
However, Al Mulla effectively publicly called his colleagues who are gay, evil deviants (never mind the implication that he believes women should ‘know their limits’, and their place). It’s one thing to hold those views, it’s another to broadcast them to tens of thousands of people on social media. It must make a working relationship within the firm impossible. 

Anonymous 09 September 22 10:53

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that he also thinks women are subservient to men. Must be hard in a firm with nearly 50% women. 

Anonymous 09 September 22 11:04

Wow , it seems nobody can face the woke left .. then let’s not try if it’s a lost battle 

No difference 09 September 22 11:04

All international law firms (and all other types of international firms) which operate in this part of the world are complicit in participating in a society where these views are very much in the mainstream, institutionalised, set deeply in the culture and religion and not at all unusual or controversial in any way. The only difference is that this guy says out loud what he believes. 

Anonymous 09 September 22 11:12

Oh forget about this old hat nonsense already.

What does he think about trans rights?

 

They're the real victims here.

Anonymous 09 September 22 11:19

Such an islamophobic article.

You wouldn't be talking about him this way if he was Ukrainian.

Complicit 09 September 22 11:49

This should set alarm bells ringing at firms with offices in the Middle East. If their LGBT and LGBT ally networks are worth their salt, they will be knocking on management’s doors to demand a review of whether their people over there are also publicly stating that gay people should not exist/be made illegal. 

Anonymous 09 September 22 11:52

Shows the hypocrisy of the West. Funding and arming the neo-Nazi homophobic Azov Battalion of the Ukrainian army but jumping to cancel Mr Al Mullah

Anonymous 09 September 22 12:11

@11:52

Thanks Russian troll. I know you are desperate for roubles for sh1tposting disinformation but you are off-topic and no one on this thread is going to be influenced in the slightest by you.

Also, how's it going ? How do you like those HIMARs targeting your ammo dumps and command posts? Not so much? Didn't think so. Best you just up sticks and leave the Ukraine.

Woke Detector 09 September 22 12:21

The liberal woke left are nothing more than an organized network of criminals pushing their agenda through governments and self proclaimed good deeds. 

Our Father Zayed 09 September 22 12:27

Terminating him is an excessive step. He could have been given a warning and training. That’s what’s typically done to white partners who racially harass minorities.

If he were a white partner who had sexually assaulted a female associate, he’d still be there and the associate would have been managed out with a severance settlement. 

Anonymous 09 September 22 12:29

@12:11

I’m not Russian. I’m Indian and proud to be buying cheap oil from Russia. I will not be lectured by Britishers. 

InfiniteMonkeyTheorem 09 September 22 12:54

@oracle I think he may have 2 handles, one posting in English and the other in Arabic. I haven’t gone to check though, just how it appears from the images in the story.

Mohammed Al bin Mohammed Abdul 09 September 22 12:59

Zayed is right, people are refusing to acknowledge that this is proof that colonialism is still with us today and oppresses Muslim brothers and sisters worldwide.

Britain's destruction of the previously peaceful and cosmopolitan Middle East with the Balfour Declaration is a crime that echoes down the ages and which created the conditions that it now complains about today.

How else should Mr Al Mulla act? It is the British who did this to him. His words are theirs to own.

Lord Lester 09 September 22 13:01

What a dinosaur.

He will need to throw himself upon the tender mercies of the BSB.

Anonymous 09 September 22 13:10

The real victims here are Muslims.

The media needs to be very careful to make sure that this story is reported sensitively so as to ensure that people do not feel any anger, or direct any backlash, at muslim communities in which these views are widespread.

CheckYourPriveledge 09 September 22 14:24

Quite right, @13:10.

I'd actually go further and suggest that not agreeing with his views and adopting them as our own is  a blatant act of racism and Islamophobia in and of itself.

Ella Lewis 09 September 22 14:33

It’s only freedom of speech when the speech is to your liking it seems. Don’t expect my employer to fire me for my TWEET. Grow up Baker & Mckenzie fyi the uae laws are against gay people so why don’t you leave the country as well all together?  

Sultan 09 September 22 14:48

bye bye Baker & McKenzie no more future for you... you should have learned from the others...

Gay Muslim 09 September 22 15:24

There are gay Muslims, just like there are gay Christians and gay atheists. They are exposed to the double prejudice of homophobia and Islamophobia.

There are black gay Muslims. They are exposed to the triple prejudice of homophobia, racism, and Islamophobia.

There are black gay female Muslims. They are exposed to the quadruple prejudice of homophobia, racism, sexism and Islamophobia.

And then there’s white privilege and apartheid and the mass incarceration of black people. In the beautiful liberal democratic West. 

Manifesto from the Colonisers 09 September 22 15:52

Here is the story. Baker McKenzie had no presence in the UAE. Mr Al Mulla brought Bakers to the UAE. He introduced them to clients. In a short period of time, Bakers became one of the leading firms in the UAE because of Mr Al Mulla. Now Bakers got what they wanted out of Mr Al Mulla, and they no longer need his services and no longer wish to pay him. This is a common theme in the ME because the Brit partners do this to the Arabs. Now that Bakers is done with Mr Al Mulla they are using this as an excuse to get rid of him. Bakers should leave Saudi and the UAE because the views express by Mr Al Mulla are the views expressed by the majority of the locals. Bakers in the Middle East is managed by Bakers London. This is a common theme and the Arabs should wake up and not allow this to happen. The Arabs are allowing the Brit lawyers to walk all over them.

The truth 09 September 22 15:57

Why do people think that stopping oppressive and exclusionary behavior is “woke” - it’s normal and just! If you want to live in a free society - you create rules and boundaries to allow people to be themselves who they are based on the way they are born. In a just society - you don’t exclude people from opportunity due to their race, gender, sexual orientation - these are birth traits. It’s pretty simple. It’s not woke. If you think it is you’re dead asleep. 

Anonymous 09 September 22 16:31

Another brave man silenced for daring to speak up about the plight of the Palestinian people.

Shame on you Bakers!

Emirati 09 September 22 16:39

People judging his comments without knowing the emirati community and culture. You cannot enforce your western ideology in our community and not allowing us to freely speak about what we feel, whats the point of all freedom of expression in the western world if a small thing as disagreeing with LGBT 🏳️‍🌈 and modern feminism would cause such a strong backlash, not just that, it went far on using phrases such as homophobia ? So anyone disagrees with you you just going to invent a phobia and throw it out on them?, by the way Dr Habib almulla is one of the most positive influencers in the emirati community, a lot of good deeds he did to the community, but in the western world; disagreeing with LGBT solely puts you in the disgrace and evil position, what a petty

Anonymous 09 September 22 16:53

What I want to know is whether this Mulla gent has published his moral views on men who have sex with ladies, but in a way whereby the lady takes on the traditional role of the man by way of the use of a temporarily worn prosthetic typically moulded from rubber or silicone and in which the man takes on the traditional role of the lady by bending over and taking it while making appreciative vocal remarks.

The main religious texts never really seem to give clear guidance on the issue, which seems like a curious oversight on behalf of the divine all-knowing creator who had so many thoughts on other common sexual practices.

Indeed, what is Bakers' stance on the matter?

We should be told.

A gay man 09 September 22 17:26

This guy is living in the 1950s. Women are not chattel. They are not possessions nor servants. Time to move on UAE. Homosexuality has been a part of the make up of the human race since the beginning. It's time to wake up and understand this. It's been a while (since the dark ages in the 400s) when left handed people were stoned to death, you would think we would have grown up a little in 1800 years, but apparently not. 

Anonymous 09 September 22 17:55

Dr Habib views reflect the views of every respectable person living on this land ! We as emarati’s agree 100% that their is no such thing as homophobia !! Their is what’s right and what’s wrong and being gay isn’t a freedom topic it’s an Abomination to the human race and WE WILL NOT STAND DOING NOTHING when we see such ideologies being feed to our young generations ! 
 

sure those rights are given in the western countries and they are free to believe and do what ever they want BUT that stops once those believes leave the borders of their countries !! 
 

Have you every seen a guest demanding his host to change the decoration of his own house ?! I don’t think so and if you did then I’m sure that person was kicked out of that house before even knowing what happened !! 
 

SO !! To end this !! U believe in what u want and we will believe what we want .. if that ok with u then it’s ok with us and if not then … let’s say remember what I said about the disrespectful guest 🤣

Wael McDaf 09 September 22 18:12

Habib al mulla still a star in the UAE

and this action is suppression of opinion freedom that you call for

Language learner 09 September 22 18:33

The Google Translate for one of the tweets is wrong. It's not "you believed" it's "you told the truth"

Wont be a client of Bakers 09 September 22 18:34

Rollonfriday, given that you "discovered" Dr. Habeeb's statements, don't you think it probably reflects a very large number of societal thinking. He is stating it very publiclly. Thousands raised the same points before he did!

This is hardly a Dr Habeeb story, but it is indication of piss poor reporting on your front.

To Bakers, this screams as opportunist and fishing for an excuse to terminate the relationship for other gains. 

Wow 09 September 22 18:37

"He retweeted an alternative clip posted by one of his followers, which showed women with their faces covered acting subserviently to men"

That's the UAE traditional dress and the video is about women empowerment. Why not post the video? 

Racist reporting while trying to report homophobia!!!!! 

uae girl 09 September 22 18:41

we stand with mr.habib ,bery proud of him .

 

The West is a chaotic society because of sexual freedom, the rates of sexually transmitted diseases are frighteningly high, the rates of foundlings have risen frighteningly, the birth rates have dropped dramatically, these problems do not exist in our country.  All of you as an Emirati society against your crazy ideas.

Anonymous 09 September 22 19:07

I am glad this man has been fired like all the other men who think and speak a certain way. Keep your beliefs to yourself, your opinions to yourself, you aren’t allowed to say what you think in public if it isn’t in line with the majority consensus. You can say what you want in the privacy of your own home. Check your privilege.  If other Muslims think this way, we have questions to answer - we should fire them and put them in reeducation camps where they can concentrate on their faulty thought processes, and they shouldn’t be allowed to leave the chambers provided for them until they have learnt their lessons.

Rashid Alsuwaidi 09 September 22 19:16

Strange decision to separate Baker McKenzie from the law firm of Dr. Habib Al Mulla for the sake of expressing his opinion to the doctor about the gay community, as homosexuality is anathema in our Islamic society and the doctor is part of this innately healthy society, and the decision to separate is considered a source of opinion, and I announce my boycott of the Baker McKenzie office

Boycott Baker & McKenzie 09 September 22 19:51

Let’s boycott the firm throughout the Islamic world - Indonesia, Malaysia, GCC, Turkey 

Anonymous 09 September 22 20:21

Totally agreed with dr. Habib and support him. we have a religion that we follow and values that we uphold to, not like other’s who will accept anything even if it’s against logic, nature or science.

Anonymous 09 September 22 20:25

Your perspective about the liberty and freedom of speech really sucks!! You only accept the different ideas or opinions as long as it matches with your inner beliefs. 

For Baker & McKenzie, if you're really legal practitioners, you should have known and principally understand that the acceptance of a behavior is not solid in all times and places around the globe!! I am not obliged to accept your opinions. Do you accept or honor the polygamy right? Why that because your refuse and that is your right and our right also to reject this insanity and ugliness of Gays 

Matthew 09 September 22 20:37

I have never commented on a story before, but this is too extraordinary.
 

I founded RoF. Jamie, my star journalist, dug this story out and exposed it. Bakers responded entirely properly - this man has said disgusting things that would offend any civilized person, he cannot remain in his position. 
 

And yet this evening I cannot believe the massive number of comments coming from UAE (which we have not published, obviously) attempting to justify homophobia and saying repulsive things about the LGBT community. I’m stunned. 
 

I really don’t know what to say other than all major law firms need to look very carefully at their involvement in this region. 

Anon 09 September 22 20:52

The issue is not that he has views consistent with many of his countrymen and women.  It is that he is working for, and profiting from, a western law firm.  

If he wants to benefit from that he is required to moderate the expression views considered offensive to his colleagues and many clients of his firm.    

 

 

BM were right 09 September 22 20:53

BM had to act.  Having some respect for all people, whether gay or straight, men or women, is not a high bar.  

BM 09 September 22 21:06

@20.53 

yes of course BM had to act. Like they acted here: 

https://www.rollonfriday.com/news-content/exclusive-secret-baker-mckenzie-report-gary-senior-reveals-indignant-managing-partner

it’s blatant Islamophobia. If a Muslim does something wrong there’s no leniency shown. Immediate termination 

Anonymous 09 September 22 21:14

So what happened to freedom of speech?
The views express by Dr Al Mulla are the views expressed by the majority of Emiratis! You should not force your western ideologies on us without respecting our culture and religion! 
Obviously a neocolonialism. Such a shame!!

Anonymous 09 September 22 21:37

Am I the only person who finds it abhorent that BM can be doing business in a country where the twisted, inhuman, putrid views on show in this thread hold sway?

Surely there has to come a point at which even commerce has to say 'No, this is fundamentally wrong, and we want no part of it.  We certainly do not want to support it'.

You can uphold principles of law, or you can become subservient to a monstrous hegemony of depravity and hate.  You cannot do both.

Boycott racist Britain 09 September 22 21:41

To all Emiratis, Arabs and Muslims: Boycott Racist Brexit Britain !!!

- Boycott British goods 

- Boycott British services 

until Britain gives up the colonialist racist mindset boycott the racist country! 

Boycott everyone 09 September 22 21:49

@21.37

Does this apply to withdrawing from India? Where there is a fascist regime in power? 

Anonymous 09 September 22 22:11

@ Matthew - I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn that enormous numbers of Muslims, possibly even the overwhelming majority of them, hold precisely the opinions that the book they literally believe is the direct word of God tells them to hold.

Who could possibly believe that people who base their moral outlook on a book from the Iron Age have an opinion of homosexuals (and a wide range of other issues) which feels like it belongs in, uh, the Iron Age.

And, get this, people posting from jurisdictions in which they criminalise homosexuality actually believe that homosexuals are sinners. Who could possibly have foreseen it?

It's just amazing. I simply never saw it coming.

 

I mean who knows. Next thing they'll be murdering somebody over a cartoon or something equally implausible. But surely that's too far fetched...

Matthew 09 September 22 22:20

Yeah, I get all that, of course. But I have not seen such brazen and widespread support for these sort of views in 20 years. This may always have been the prevalent view in UAE, but there is clearly now a shift. Trump, Putin, I don’t know, but these disgusting people are now happy to share their views. I don’t think that officers of the court should be making money out of these markets. 

Anonymous 09 September 22 22:29

Enjoying how many people Dr. Habib has quickly called or hasn’t given the ok to yet as to whether they can stay with his firm so they have quickly jumping to his completely unjustifiable defence just to make sure the job offer comes 😂. As with all extremists they have missed the point, it’s not the fact he has this views or even said them it’s that he has a position as the head of a firm with clear policies and procedures in place on women being equal and on LGBTQ+  and he went out of his way to publish publicly views that contradict those policies and procedures he signed up to uphold and also agreed to enforce to the rest of the office. 

Gay Muslim 09 September 22 22:30

@22.11 - what utter rubbish. The vast majority of Muslims are not homophobic. A minority are extremist and hence have homophobic views. The majority of Muslims are tolerant and respectful of the LGBT community. 

The ROF Islamophobes haven't done a poll of Muslims to get their views. Assuming that all Muslims are homophobic is no different to the Far-Right Neo-Nazi view that all Muslims are terrorists. The views peddled by Trump and the English Defence League and other white supremacists... who usually say 'oh we have nothing against Black people, Hindus. We only hate Muslims'. That tactic (of isolating Muslims) didn't really work, did it? It didn't result in Liberal Haters (i.e. liberal and tolerant of LGBT but hating only Muslims). It resulted in the Charlottesville marches and the Capitol takeover. 

anonymous 10 September 22 00:32

Matthew. 
 

Having spent a large portion of my life living in the UAE I can confirm that the views expressed by Dr Habib Al Mulla are actually completely normal, totally acceptable and fairly tame by UAE standards.
 

Which I’m guessing the far more extreme comments you have received and not published clearly demonstrate. 
 

Dr Al Mulla is a highly respected member of the legal profession in the UAE and is one of the best people to instruct to get a local law opinion. 
 

That said I do not share or condone his views and Baker McKenzie is obviously free to choose who to be in association with in the region. 
 

However, none of this is new. Dr Al Mulla’s views are entirely consistent with his religion, society and culture,  and are something which any law firm doing proper due diligence, before signing up to an association with him, would know.

The attitude to these issues in the UAE hasn’t changed since Bakers joined with Dr Al Mulla. 
 

What has changed is the western cultural approach to dealing with issues when our values are challenged. 

 

If western culture has now moved to a point where we cannot tolerate any difference in opinion, on what are some rather controversial issues globally,  then that really is a form of cultural imperialism that is unlikely to be well tolerated in many place around the world.

 

Anonymous 10 September 22 00:40

These people have always been happy to share their views. 
 

They do it regularly in Iran by throwing gays off buildings and stoning women to death. 
 

Twitter just means you also get to hear them now. 
 

 

Anonymous 10 September 22 02:48

What total woke nonsense; everyone with a brain cell in Western countries opposes these views; but religion opposes homosexuality, these are Muslim countries and they follow the Qu’ran and Hadith. The UAE is more tolerant year on year. Saudi didn’t let women drive. Change takes time.

You think you’re being insightful in “uncovering” some homophobia in the region. Do you think cancelling people is going to change peoples’ views or just make them more entrenched. It’s going to be the latter, that the homosexual liberals have infected the West or something. The Middle East has got great potential, great people and they’re doing their best. Going round to other countries and asking if they still throw spears at each other or going to a tribe in the Amazon and forcing them to wear suits…

Is this guy who got fired a bad person? No, not that I can see. I understand he has some views we personally disagree with, but I understand why he holds them and he is seeking to use words to argue his opinion. He isn’t holding up weapons compelling people to do as he says. 

Law firms in the UK openly discriminate against white men, and men generally, in the name of diversity, and discriminate in favour of homosexuality, and certain races and genders. Some universities in the US discriminate against Asians because they say they’re doing too well. If any lawyer chose to speak up against this, they’d also be cancelled. 

I think what Bakers has done is cowardly and doesn’t change anything. They should have suspended him, sent him to training and banned him from Twitter. Everyone else with these views are just going to be radicalised further, and all I see is this website endorsing the current discriminatory anti freedom of speech bullshit approach of law firm management generally.

Anonymous 10 September 22 04:51

Despite the fact the homosexuality is illegal in Dubai I can honestly say for the most part it’s gay friendly. The cultural aspect for Asian and Middle Eastern men to hold hands and cuddle means that for a long time gay men have been able to show more public affection then most married couples. There are underground gay clubs (nothing happens underground without someone very high ups support - so someone in the family supports this), and homosexuality is becoming widely more accepted - I am aware of two Emirati men who have recently had babies via surrogate with their male partners, which both their Emirati families have happily accepted. Family is the crux of the Emirati world and we no longer live in a world where being homosexual rules out having one - so its being more embraced, albeit slowly. Let’s not forget until 3 weeks ago it was illegal to be gay in Singapore. Think it’s going to Dubai some time to get there but it is making progress.   

Anonymous 10 September 22 05:20

I think this was a pretty unwise move by RoF, dressed up as intrepid reporting. Not for one second has any international firm in the region misunderstood the cultural landscape here. There are clear do’s and dont’s in this part of the world which in other countries, can and probably should be discussed and/or debated as a result of those societies being primed for said discussions. Here however, the sensitivities behind discussing it, even behind closed doors becomes extremely uncomfortable because of religious beliefs. 
 

What has happened here is worrying to the broader industry in the region. This article should not have come to light and it was done so as though it could have been done in the UK or the US. Wrong place, wrong time. It puts a number of lawyers who do support these societal norms at risk.
 

One needs to be on the ground to, taking a simple example, understand how difficult it was for the local population to switch the weekend from Friday to Saturday. Seemingly innocuous to most of us outside the UAE but to those living here, the adjustment was not and still isn’t easy. That notwithstanding, it was done. As a society that’s working hard at mutually recognizing a lot of (and I hate to use the term) western practices, it still has deeply set-in traditional beliefs which need to be handled by its own society at its own time (and not at the pace experienced in countries which frankly, took their own time before they accepted societal and cultural norms). 

It was wrong of RoF to expose in the manner it did without having taking these factors into mind. And if RoF argues that it did take these matters into mind, it clearly did a bad job of being tuned in to the cultural changes that are already taking place in this part of the world (change of weekend, cohabitation permitted, decriminalizing several offenses which previously carried deportation and harsh terms, all of which have been reformed in the last year or so). This was an overreach of a story. Plain and simple and should not have been brought to light. RoF could have tapped BM directly on the shoulder without the need for publication and the issue would have been handled appropriately.

The way this has gone about makes efforts to integrate two different cultures that much more complex. 

Nonnymouse 10 September 22 05:21

When applying for a license to practice as a legal firm in the UAE, each and everyone of these foreign firms is required to give undertakings that they will comply with and uphold the laws and public morals of the various Emirates in which they are licensed. 
 

In much the same way that every lawyer admitted to practice gives similar oaths to the courts of admission. 

Nothing in what Dr Al Mulla has written is contrary to the laws, or public morals of the UAE.
 

In fact, the laws themselves 100% support him,  the various criminal codes that are applicable criminalise same sex  activity and sodomy which are subject to penalties up to  10-14 years  imprisonment. 
 

Perhaps those law firms like Baker and McKenzie should have thought about exactly what they were signing when they gave those undertakings to uphold those very same laws and public morals.
 

Because the laws against homosexuality aren’t the only ones that really do not align with western cultural values, the laws of the UAE also still contain the death penalty for certain offences too. 
 

If the view is that Baker’s should not be in association with Dr Al Mulla, then they shouldn’t be doing business in the UAE at all. 
 

Or any other country that criminalises homosexuality. 

Hamdan 10 September 22 06:16

Everyone in the Dubai legal market knew that Habib and Baker & McKenzie were due to split. He changed the name from Baker & McKenzie to Habib Al Mulla and started to impose his views about a year ago. My guess is he engineered this tweets so he exits with a bang. The guy loves publicity. The fact of the matter is most Emirati love their rulers and do not like when a random attention seeker puts the Emirates in a bad light, the way Habib has.    

2fireornot2fire 10 September 22 07:55

A company should usually not dump someone whatever they have said, however offensive, imo, except that here the crucial thing is that what he said represents an attack on his own business and his colleagues. He is effectively telling everyone that his gay colleagues and the positions the wider business takes with regard to those matters are evil. That’s unworkable in a business. Imagine if a partner was telling everyone publicly ‘my colleagues in the Netherlands are completely useless and stupid’ - fireable. 
It’s not a free speech issue - it’s a cohesive business issue. 

A traveller 10 September 22 08:39

I lived in the Middle East. The Emiratis, Saudis, Omanis and Bahrainis did not share such views on homosexuality as those of Dr Habib's. I only really knew a younger crowd though, but still it shows a generational shift in attitudes.

Hack 10 September 22 08:41

05:20, seriously: shame on reporters for bringing things to light?

Your preference to bury news until the powers that be have deemed society in a fit state to receive it is something a dictator imposes.  

And what did they report exactly? As far as I can see it’s exactly what this gentleman was blasting to 60k+ followers, on a public platform!

 

Anonymous 10 September 22 08:58

Like the comment above says: it’s not the fact he has these views or even said them it’s that he has a position as the head of a firm with clear policies and procedures in place on women being equal and on LGBTQ+  and he went out of his way to publish publicly his views that contradict those policies and procedures he signed up to uphold and also agreed to enforce to the rest of the office. 

Anonymous 10 September 22 08:59

A huge thanks to ROF for bringing this to light - it takes courage to stand up for what is right.  

Gobblepig 10 September 22 09:37

I think it's pretty racist of B&M not to have whole-heartedly embraced this fine example of multicultural enrichment. 

Anonymous 10 September 22 10:56

@Anon 5:20

"RoF could have tapped BM directly on the shoulder without the need for publication and the issue would have been handled appropriately."

What a bizarre thing to expect journalists to do - work to keep objectionable things secret. RoF's editorial function here is as a news outlet, not a blackmail factory. 

Geoff Roe 10 September 22 11:23

My commendations and respect to Jamie for breaking such an important and impactful news story.

I would also like to align myself to the comments of Matthew. The disgusting double standards of Big Law in on the one hand trying to court the LGBT community and preach diversity and equality and on the other hand do their best to suck up to and exploit disgusting regimes like UAE and Saudi etc is a scandal that we must shine a light on.

There must be other similar news stories like this one waiting to be revealed. I call upon RoF to continue the good work and make it their mission to not rest until they have been exposed.

AR 10 September 22 11:24

How could he not agree and bend the knee to the new norms of the west, shame. How dare he voice his thoughts and the thoughts of vast majority of his people, shame. How dare he value the traditions of his nation and religion, shame. This is not the land of the first amendment, oh wait an American company silenced him, I guess freedom of speech is not one of their exports. 

Anonymous 10 September 22 11:30

As a member of my firms LGBTQ+ network I have raised the issue of offices in dodgy countries a few times 

Never been answered satisfactorily

I understand the women's network has asked similar questions 

No answers 

ShiaLawyer 10 September 22 11:35

Having practiced in the UAE, Habib’s views are consistent with the majority of wider society and with the law. They will not be a surprise to anyone who has worked in the region. Every Western person who lives or has lived in UAE (including me) buys into this, to some extent. The total hypocrisy is one of the reasons I left quickly. 
 

There is cognitive dissonance between Western law firms’ practise of UAE law and their policies on diversity and inclusion. I find Habib’s views abhorrent (and he sounds quite unhinged in places) but in a country where homosexuality is illegal (and frequently “cured”), where you can be locked up for such elastic offenses as “mocking Arab culture”, “scandalous acts” or “undermining social cohesion”, and where arbitrary detention and the death sentence feature in the justice system, it’s only surprising that BM is surprised. If these firms really cared about homophobia, they would withdraw from the legal market in countries which criminalize homosexuality (but we all know that won’t happen). 

Abdulaziz 10 September 22 12:54

We were sure that your support for freedom of opinion was just nonsense @bakermckenzie, and there is no seriousness, just to support your plans that would corrupt morals, but Dr. Habib stood against these foreign ideas, we all as emaraties are proud of you Doctor @DrHabibAlMulla

Anonymous 10 September 22 13:26

A persons view has nothing to do with that of a the firm or entity they belong to, that said, if the saying belonged to a white British partner ; it would have gone  quite differently.The man was only speaking his mind, being pro or against does not say anything about him, it just compliments his beliefs, his religion  and that of his country, it is his absolute right to do so.we all have the right to speak our beliefs, just like the lgbtqxyz are flashing it constantly all over the news- cartoons and all over the media , it’s my human right to accept or to reject any behavior that doesn’t match my way but I don’t impose my way of living on anyone, so is any human being’s legit right to. 
 

I believe B&M were quick to jump on a decision without taking in to consideration their history with Dr.Habib and his authority and his standing in the country. I don’t know him but I believe he did nothing wrong, it was his own personal account not that of the company. Wishing you dr. all the best in the coming period.

 

 

UAE and KSA JV Dr Alissa 10 September 22 13:57

Dr Al Mulla should join forces with the guys at Dentons in Saudi

https://www.rollonfriday.com/news-content/exclusive-dentons-investigating-if-partner-penned-anti-us-diatribe

Jamal 10 September 22 14:03

Respect to him

He is reflecting the position of his people, who cares about what the world thinks. If one want to do business in the Arab Gulf countries then respect the values and culture otherwise do your business somewhere else. 

Ali 10 September 22 19:02

This topic is garnering attention in social media in Arabic countries,,, I believe you will lose a lot of business.... 

Fair enough, we don't like your way of thinking and you don't like ours... time to part away 

Yeah 10 September 22 22:42

Greedy western firms are led by a bunch hypocrites. They’re worried about their presence and want to be “right” all the time. They have been pocketing billions from the GCC region and turn an eye for these “principles” for which they stand ONLY when s* hits the fan and they’re in a PR crisis. It took centuries for LGBTQ+ folks to get their federal rights in the US, yet they want it done everywhere else yesterday. When a company chooses to do business in a region or a country, they have to abide by the laws of that country, period. The GCC is a region that is evolving at an unprecedented pace, and UK folks are rushing into it escaping their income tax, and don’t care about none of this. That’s a double standard. Ladies and gents, rock your abayas and learn a few Arabic words to grow your careers, then act like heroes in these petty moments. AlMulla is better off without such corporate hypocrisy.  

AbsurdinessBrown 11 September 22 04:36

Silly fellow. 

You don't get to pick and choose which part of clownworld applies to you. 

Anonymous 11 September 22 06:31

"Fair enough, we don't like your way of thinking and you don't like ours... time to part away"

By, your way of thinking, you mean the discrimination against women and gay people?

Happy to part 'away' on that basis

Anonymous 12 September 22 05:39

A traveller 10 September 22 08:39 - I too live in the Middle East and I assure you his views are shared by the majority of GCC nationals and also by nationals of the wider MENA region. That said, there is a very active underground scene across all of the GCC...all nationalities are represented I assure you.

A conversation that was had by a a group of my close friends around 6-7 years ago really sticks with me: A Jordanian guy, who is lovely in every way and would give the shirt off his back to help anyone,  absolutely piled into how abhorrent homosexuality was after someone casually mentioned that someone we knew was gay. A debate ensued. When three of the people at the table made excuses and left, our Jordanian pal asked what was the matter? All of us left at the table said, almost in unison "Person X is a lesbian and both Y and Z are gay, how did you not know?!" He did apologise to them in person when he saw them next, but he did reiterate that, from his perspective and based on his culture, he felt their choices weren't correct, but he respect their rights to make their own choices.

Times are changing here, so I'm sure tolerance will be the name of the game in years to come.

Not Matthew 12 September 22 12:55

Morning all,

Still reeling from the shock of learning that people who have always very clearly said that they considered homosexuals to be abominations are actually, in real life, genuinely not ok with homosexuality. They literally think it's a sin!

I'd always assumed that, deep down, if you just got past all of their sincerely held religious beliefs which they enshrine in law and live their lives around, they'd be cuddly progressives who shared all of my cosmopolitan moral views.

That they are actually the exact people that they had always said they were, and that they willingly share their far-out moral outlooks on Twitter (just like people in the West, no less!) has really shaken me to my core.

Never saw it coming!

I mean, where were the clues?

 

Think Trump probably must be to blame somehow. This whole 'Islam' thing is his doing no doubt.

Anon 16 September 22 07:23

regarding the above, what on earth does the SRA have to do with a non SRA regulated lawyer in The Middle East ? 

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