Friday August 27th, 2010 05:53 Follow the Money: Could Mayor Bloomberg’s Media Business Interests in the Middle East Have Anything to Do with His Support of the Ground Zero Mosque?

Call us cynical but we wonder whether Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s passionate backing of the building of a controversial mosque near Ground Zero stems as much from Bloomberg’s belief in America’s “freedom of faith” as it might from the Mayor’s belief in the “virtues of Islamic finance?”

Does the Mayor’s unshakable support have anything to do with The Bloomberg (company) becoming a ‘single provider of information that caters to the Islamic business market’?  A Bloomberg five-year business plan for an Islamic finance portal via a Bloomberg hub at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is already a reality.

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Michael Bloomberg, has become a staunch supporter of the Cordoba House (Park51) Ground Zero Mosque.  In the process, the Mayor has lectured opponents on “religious liberty” and, by extension, implied that opposition to the mosque is largely based on bigotry.

Lately, Bloomberg has become so insistent on the mosque’s being built at its planned location that The New York Post has labeled him Pro-Mosque Mike.”

A defiant Mayor Bloomberg, saying there should be no compromise, insisted last night that a mosque be built near Ground Zero, declaring, “We must do what is right, not what is easy.

While Bloomberg hasn’t been shy about questioning the motives of those opposed to the mosque’s location, the media has shied away from the Mayor‘s motivations.  But what of the Mayor’s motives? What might they be? Does a strong passion for religious liberty explain all?

Some of Bloomberg LP’s officials may hold some clues.

On October 2, 2009, The Dubai Chronicle reported Chairman and President of Bloomberg LP Peter T. Grauer met with UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at Maktoum’s Emirate office. According to the Dubai Chronicle, Grauer gave a presentation of Bloomberg future expansion plans in the ‘area of business information’ in the United Emirates, North Africa, and India. Grauer stated the UAE was a great place to expand, the UAE’s “logistic facilities” the ‘biggest incentive for investors and companies to expand their businesses in the country and the region beyond’.

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“Particularly since the meltdown of the western capitalist system, there has been an increasingly large focus on the virtues of Islamic finance. Today, there is no one single provider of information that caters to the Islamic finance market. So by Bloomberg being here, we are in the process  of building out an Islamic finance product. We are very confident that we can build a product that meets the needs of the market right now.”

–Max Linnington, Regional Head of Bloomberg Middle East and South Asia on the company’s plan to build a Bloomberg hub in Dubai at the Dubai International Financial Centre(DIFC), October 29, 2009

Some details about the DIFC:

The DIFC is the world’s fastest growing international financial centre. It aims to develop the same stature as New York, London and Hong Kong.

It primarily serves the vast region between Western Europe and East Asia.

Could the plans of Bloomberg LP have an influence on Bloomberg the Mayor?

Recently he claimed, “We would send a signal around the world that Muslim-Americans may be equal in the eyes of the law, but separate in the eyes of their countrymen.”

Might the Mayor be more interested–even just the tiniest bit–in some parts of the world than in others?

Might Bloomberg’s speech have sent a signal to the Middle East – which by a great coincidence, is the site of the Dubai International Financial Centre, the location of one of Bloomberg LP’s ten worldwide hubs?

DIFC

On March 10, 2010, the Khaleej Times reported Bloomberg Set for Dubai expansion in bid to double revenues by 2014.

“Bloomberg, a leading global provider for financial data and news services, plans to “significantly boost regional operations from its Dubai hub as it is bullish about growth prospects of the emirate as a global financial center, a top executive said.”

The coincidences continue: the Mayor’s company is banking on “doubling revenues by 2014″ in a region that just happens to be largely populated by Muslims.

The Mayor, when he isn’t busy rallying support for a mosque opposed by a large majority in NYC and 70% of Americans at large, is in the newsgathering business. Bloomberg makes a lot of money providing financial news in a timely manner.

One more coincidence: if you do a search for financial news from Dubai and the Middle East, chances are, your only sources-outside the Mayor’s own Bloomberg.com — are The National, the Dubai Chronicle or the Khaleej News.

While we were able to easily access articles from the National, Dubai Chronicle or the Khaleej News about the Bloomberg Dubai hub, a search of Bloomberg.com came up empty.  Ten pages of results: nothing.

Does it concern the Mayor that Bloomberg.com is getting scooped on news about Bloomberg LP?

Michael Bloomberg has made billions of dollars being a savvy businessman. Might a savvy businessman consider it prudent to maintain good relations in the Muslim world–a part of the world where the Mayor’s company hopes to “double revenues by 2014?”

How does Mayor Bloomberg’s support for the Ground Zero mosque — based, he says, on the issue of freedom of faith – square with the “virtues of Islamic finance” and an Islamic finance portal in Dubai with Bloomberg LP‘s aim of becoming “the world’s single provider of information that caters to the Islamic finance market?”

One more important question: will the NYC media ask Hizzoner if he has any potential conflicts to act as an impartial broker on Park51? Doesn’t it seem just that the survivors and families whose loved ones lost their lives on 911 receive some answers — before receiving any more lectures from the tiny, Boston-born Democrat turned Republican turned Independent turned Republican turned Whatever Mayor of the City of New York?

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It’s easy to imagine the Mayor becoming enthusiastic over opportunities when billions of dollars are to be made. Enthusiasm is a hard emotion to contain.

Even when a majority of his constituents remain opposed to the latest object of Bloomberg’s enthusiasm.


Big Journalism

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