DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The image and name of American presidential hopeful Donald Trump were gone Friday from parts of a golf course and housing development under construction in Dubai amid the uproar over his comments about banning Muslims from traveling to the United States.
The disappearance of at least some Trump branding from the multi-billion-dollar development on the outskirts of Dubai comes as concerns over his comments grow in the Middle East, a region in which the businessman long has sought money-making opportunities.
One of the world's wealthiest businessmen, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, had sharp words for Trump on Friday, telling him via Twitter to withdraw from the presidential race, "as you will never win."
"You are a disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America," he wrote. The billionaire prince is chairman of investment firm Kingdom Holding Company.
The company behind the Trump Towers in Istanbul, meanwhile, said it is "assessing" its partnership with the Republican presidential front-runner.
In Dubai, Trump had a deal with Damac Properties to license his name and image for a housing project and two golf courses for an undisclosed sum.
On Friday, a prominent advertising billboard showing Trump golfing that had stood at the Akoya development, where the housing and one of the golf courses is being built, was gone. All that remained of it was the board's brown wooden background. Another billboard declaring the development "The Beverly Hills of Dubai" still stood nearby.
Trump's name also appeared to have been pulled off one sign greeting visitors to the complex. The sign, outside a sales office at the site, originally had Trump's name in lettering on a stone wall. But on Friday the letters were littering the ground in front of it.
A second, similar sign facing a major road was intact with Trump's name on it. Earlier in the week, that sign had been taken down but by Friday, it was back in place.
"The exterior signage at Trump International Golf Club, Dubai was temporarily removed on Tuesday for a short period of time, however as of last night, the signage is back up and fully intact," the Trump Organization said in a statement to The Associated Press on Friday.
Also, the Damac webpage dedicated to the Trump PRVT gated community, which is part of the development, appeared to have been removed, leading only to a "not found" page.
Since the development is still under construction, the removal of the branding with Trump's name and image seemed to be largely symbolic. It was not known if it signaled Damac will outright break the licensing contract.
Damac Properties has declined to comment on the removal of Trump's name and billboard from the property. It earlier said it "would not comment further on Mr. Trump's personal or political agenda, nor comment on the internal American political debate scene."
Damac shares have fallen in the wake of Trump's comments, losing more than 15 percent over the past week in trading on the Dubai Financial Market.
Trump increasingly has used such a licensing model in recent years, lending out his name to others around the world rather than developing big real estate projects himself. Fellow developers have praised Trump as a pioneer of what they call a nearly risk-free business.
But some of his rhetoric about Islam on the campaign trail — including his call to monitor mosques and his proposal this week to temporarily bar Muslims from entering the U.S. — has led to increased wariness in the Arab world. Earlier this week, Dubai-based Landmark Group pulled all Trump home decor products at its 180 Lifestyle stores over his comments.
Late Thursday, Bulent Kural, the general manager of Trump Towers in Istanbul, said his company "regrets and condemns" Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. The towers are another project for which Trump licensed his brand.
"We are assessing the legal dimension of our relationship with the Trump brand," a statement from Kural said.
Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, and Aya Batrawy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, contributed to this report.
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