Donald Trump has investments in Indonesia, the world's most-populous Muslim nation
Many Indonesians wary of Trump after his proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
The businessman may face backlash from his political stances
Donald Trump has made it clear he doesn’t trust Muslims, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to make money in majority Muslim countries.
Take the Lido Lakes One Stop Adventure Hotel for example.
Even staff at this scruffy resort admit it has seen much better days. During a recent visit the cavernous lobby sat mostly empty, apart from a stray cat. Several aging cakes collected dust in the showcase of an apparently abandoned hotel pastry shop. The paint was peeling off the seats of children’s swings next to a forlorn swimming pool.
However, according to the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Lido Lakes will soon be transformed into a shining example of the “next generation of luxury hospitality.”
The future Trump International Lido Hotel is one of two resorts Trump Hotel announced it is developing in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country.
’Total and complete shutdown’
Trump Hotels publicized its joint venture with the Indonesian investment firm MNC last September. Four months later, Trump himself made a startling policy announcement.
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” his campaign announced.
Trump’s unapologetic criticisms of the Muslim world is provoking questions at the most senior levels of government here in Indonesia.
“How come he won’t allow Muslim people to enter America while he has money in Indonesia, investment in Indonesia,” asks cabinet minister Luhut Panjaitan.
In an interview with CNN, Panjaitan suggested that Indonesia would turn to other trading partners if a future President Trump shut U.S. doors to the more than 200 million Indonesian Muslims.
In 2015, the U.S. bilateral trade in goods and services with Indonesia exceeded $20 billion.
“I don’t think America can survive alone,” Panjaitan said.
’A good businessman’
Unsurprisingly, Trump evokes polarizing views among Indonesians.
At a university graduation ceremony in Jakarta, three separate students told CNN they do not like Trump because he “discriminates against Muslims.” A fourth graduate however said “Trump is a good businessman.”
Teachers and students at an Islamic boarding school in the city all reacted with dismay at the mention of the Republican candidate.
Dini Muzadlifah, 17, who dreams of one day going to study in California, urged Americans to think “over and over again” before voting for Trump.
Muslims, she added, are “not your enemy. We are friends.”
Fuad Hasan, also 17, called Trump an “extremist.”
“Donald Trump is not good for America or for the world,” he added. “I feel very sad and disappointed with his statements.”
A spokesman for one of Indonesia’s Islamist political parties warned that if Trump imposed his ban on Muslims visiting the U.S., there would be calls for reciprocity.
“Muslims in many countries would also demand their governments do the same to Americans and this means that Trump would be creating political instability,” said Arsul Sani of the United Development Party (PPP).
“It would even increase extremism against U.S. interests, including in Indonesia.”
No backlash, for now
Despite calls from some Indonesian politicians for a Trump boycott, ministers say that for now, his business deals are safe here.
MNC, Trump Hotel’s Indonesian partner, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
An employee at Lido Lakes, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Trump’s Islamophobic remarks were outweighed by the promise of new jobs and economic growth in the community.
“The resort will be an economic boost for local people here,” the employee said. “That’s why there are no demonstrations here against Donald Trump.”
Down the road in the bustling, working class town of Cicurug, several residents weren’t so generous.
“(Trump) shouldn’t build a hotel here as long as he discriminates against Muslims in the U.S.,” said Ahmed Jamjuri, a local teacher.
“I was angry when I heard he wants to ban Muslims,” said shopkeeper Willy Handarwan.
Strong ties to Muslim nations
Indonesia isn’t the only majority Muslim country where Trump companies have investments.
According to Trump’s personal financial disclosure, he also has business interests in the United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan and Turkey.
In its announcement about Trump International Hotel Lido in Indonesia, Trump Hotels boasted a future “luxurious retreat … with elevated services for luxury-minded guests.”
The press release did not mention whether the former hotel’s mosque will be part of the redevelopment.
CNN Money’s Jim Boulden contributed to this report.