Friday, August 10, 2012

How an influential Muslim's figure supposedly to play their roles. :)

This might be some kind of  a different post from my other posts before,I rarely talks about the current issues nor about politics,religions or business.but this is what I find so interesting.looking back to all those powerful businessmen that aspires me and all of us,names such as Warren Buffet,Bill Gates,Steve Jobs and so on,that one name had really caught me by just reading his interview with Forbes Magazine is Prince Alwaleed. The prince of Saudi Arabia,considered as The Most Powerful Arabs and Muslim in the world.

Reading his full interview with the Forbes magazines had just really caught my interest to see that he plays his role as a very powerful figure in a very proper and distinctive ways professionally and socially.Being a Muslim himself,I must say that I'm impressed where in a world situation where we have been attacked and condemned for being a Muslim, Prince Alwaleed is a one man that actually proves not just to me but to the world that Islam and Muslim is still  moving and influential.Owning wealth estimatedly USD$18 billion,as the CEO of Kingdom Holding Company,he holds many major shares in many big and influential company all around the globe including Citibank,Apple,Disney,Four Seasons Resort and Fairmont Hotel and so on.

Here are some parts of the interview with him that to me,his understandings and principles are a great example to nowadays leaders and us,Muslim.

Forbes:  What’s the status of the tallest building in the world? [Alwaleed’s Kingdom Tower is to be built with Binladen Group in a $1.2 billion deal]
Prince Alwaleed:  The contract was signed, and it’s supposed to begin — actually, the piling began a month ago. But officially launched this week, actually. I was just on the line today to get the final approval.
Forbes: How worried are you about Iran and Israel, and what’s been going on?
Prince Alwaleed:  That’s very dangerous, obviously, this time bomb. Because we all know that not only Iran has the potential of having some nuclear weapons, but also that Israel has nuclear weapons. Ex-president Carter came public just I think a month ago on Piers Morgan program and said that they have around 200 nuclear weapons. So that’s not a secret anymore. Having said that, I would like to apply rules on everybody, not only on Iran, but also Israel and also other countries. I would like to have a free zone, a free nuclear zone, in our region. We can’t afford to have this race.
I believe that we have not exhausted all the negotiations and all discussion channels with Iran. I think Iran is very similar to North Korea whereby they need recognition, they need to be reckoned with. They need to be told that, “You are there. We respect you and we will negotiate.” They sent many messages. But those messages weren’t really picked up very well clearly by the Bush administration, and right now by the Obama administration. By the Bush administration, they were not picked up ideologically, and I think they’re not picked up by Obama, because he has so much on his plate. Discussions between him and with the Iranian administration headed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not a priority. Remember, it’s an election year also. I think for Obama to open negotiations and discussions with Ahmadinejad right now is going to be politically explosive for him, just nine months before the elections.
Forbes:  The companies that you mentioned previously were already publicly listed. You feel comfortable with the secondary market in getting in a little bit earlier with Twitter?
Prince Alwaleed:  Oh yes, for sure. Yes. Because I believe Twitter is a force to be reckoned with, they’re there to grow more, clearly. I’m meeting tomorrow, by the way with [Twitter CEO] Dick Costolo. He’s a good guy. I always interact with our partners. For example, I met Vikram [Pandit, Citibank CEO] last night. Tomorrow I’m meeting Twitter man, and then after tomorrow I’m meeting Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch, I’m meeting the Saks boss. I’m meeting the Four Seasons, the Fairmont. Our partner here, in Plaza.

Forbes:  Do you have no problem with the company’s future without Steve Jobs?
Prince Alwaleed:  Not really. Look, I knew Steve Jobs very well personally. Very rarely he meets people. I met him three times, four times, and had lunch with him twice, alone. To be with Steve Jobs twice and three times, four times, is a real rarity. I had known him very well before he died obviously, and we had a very good relationship. We used to call each other. I did call him several times when he got sick. So really, a very good relationship. And I believe he really established a company whereby, I want to say it’s autopilot, but actually I believe there are good people there. And it will continue really well after his death. Clearly the blow-out results they had [in the Dec 2011 quarter], I cannot say this really belongs to new management, to be honest. That’s his legacy. And I think for the next 12 months to 18 months, I would say it’s his legacy. The biggest test will come maybe 18 months or 24 months from now where we’ll see the new products coming up with the competition. I was with Bill Gates for example. Just three years ago we were talking about the Internet, about how the Internet companies are intruding in his territory. Google’s moving into Facebook by adding Google Plus. Microsoft’s Bing competing with Google, et cetera. Gates said, “If you don’t innovate, and innovate, and innovate, we can’t survive,” be it Microsoft, be it Apple, be it Google, be it Facebook, be it Twitter. And this takes his other point, all these companies, by the way, are in the United States. So to say the United States is finished and gone, that’s just baloney talk. I don’t accept that.
This is the best part of the interview that really captures my interest.Despite billions of dollars and hundreds of companies running under him,he is one that stay grounded to the basic teaching of Islam.
Forbes: You’re meeting with Murdoch, you met with Gates. You’ve obviously always been very helpful with us in understanding your empire. I’m wondering what it means today, particularly against a background of economic inequity and the reaction to wealth around the world. What’s your responsibility? How important is it to you to take your position as being a billionaire?
Prince Alwaleed:  I will answer that in a very unique situation. Looking at the top 50 or 100 wealthiest people we have in the world, I think maybe I’m the only Muslim and Arab or Saudi. Three common grounds. I’d like to answer this from an Islamic point of view, to give you a twist, because you don’t want the classical answer like Buffett gives you, or Microsoft, etc., or Bill Gates or Ellison or etc. Wealth creation in the Islamic world is very important because Islam, really, is a blend of capitalism and socialism. For example, there’s a verse in the Qur’an, and if you go to my hotel George V, you’ll see that verse up there, that says, “If you thank God, God shall give you more.”
That’s pure capitalism, obviously. It says you can earn more. Yet, on the other hand, Islam has a compulsory tax, which is more important than the tax in the United States. For example, if you don’t pay tax in the United States, that’s a crime, obviously. But in the Islamic world, that’s more than a crime. It’s against faith. I take this issue of wealth creation and paying our Islamic zakat very religiously. It’s really very much part of Islam. It says “You can create as much wealth as you want, but be sure that you abide by the rules and relations of Islam that says you have to pay that every year for the needy, the poor, et cetera.”
Forbes:  We wanted you to talk a little bit about your Islamic centers in Europe and the U.S.
Prince Alwaleed:  Excellent question, timely question. After 9/11, and even before that, you know, Islam was under attack, and I say rightly so. I don’t say it was attacked wrongly. When we come… when we have terrorist acts in Indonesia, England, Nigeria, Somalia, Tanzania, Kenya, Spain, United States, Saudi Arabia, and one common ground among all these are Muslims, we’d better look inside and see what’s wrong with us. For me to come and say we are an underdog, I shall not accept that. We have problems, and we have to face those problems head-on. Clearly maybe the West does capitalize on that leverage against us, but we are to blame. Having said that, I thought that really, I would like to take the road of academia and make Islamic centers, and some of them Islamic-Christian centers, for example, establish Islamic-Christian centers in Georgetown, Harvard, in the east  and west coast of the Atlantic. We did one in Edinburgh and Cambridge. And these are big, renowned universities. We have two centers also in the Arab world that teach Western and American political systems. We have an American university in UAE, American university in Cairo. And all these centers are now being funded, around $100 million, and guess what? Now we are putting them all together to have free cross-coordination and cooperation. We’re meeting right now the first time with these big, renowned universities and Harvard, which graciously accepted to have this ceremony over there. We’ll be talking with each one separately, and we’ll put them all together and have them all been unified truly. And we’ll not resolve the issue of bridging the gap between Islam and Christianity in that meeting, obviously, but at least we will contribute. Also, having said that, I have big new news for you, we are thinking right now to have a new Islamic-Jewish center, or possibly Islamic-Jewish-Christian center. It’s still in discussion, we’re not sure yet, but this is my next target right now.
Forbes:  Do you know where that would be?
Prince Alwaleed:  Of that I can’t tell you, but we have two options: UK or Australia. And actually, the university came to us, it’s called Monash University. It’s a Jewish name, by the way. You can’t say anything about… don’t mind that, OK. We’re talking to them right now, on the record. We’re talking to them right now to see if we will do it over there. So really, we have to complete the cycle and the circle, because, you know, Judaism really is a big part, a big religion in the world, not only Islam and Christianity. And we’d like to bridge the gap, you know? And I went, I’m getting interviewed, and I say, “The best of my friends are Jewish.” Sandy Weill of Citigroup, Eisner of Disney, Reichmann of Canary Warf, Issy Sharp of Four Seasons, all my friends. We click very well.
I didn't include the whole details of conversation since some parts of the interview are  discussing about America's politics and economy which is not my main interest here.I only interested to highlight the part of the interview where he speaks about his understandings related to Islam,his important and effective role as a very influential Muslim's prince and business tycoon to generates better education so that the world can understand better about us,Muslims.As far as I concerned,he is very serious about his money and creating a world without any race and religion extreme arguments. :)