An insightful piece by the NYT on the rise of Muslim merchants in in Turkish society.
“We can’t lie down on our oil like Arab countries,” said Osman Kadiroglu, whose family owns a large candy company in Turkey, with factories in Azerbaijan and Algeria. “There’s no way out except producing.”
Fortunes were made, forming new patterns of consumption. Istanbul, Turkey’s economic capital, is No. 4 in the world on the latest Forbes list of cities with the highest number of billionaires. Luxury cars stud its streets. Shopping malls, 80 at last count, are mushrooming.
“Now, unfortunately, there is a taste for luxury, excessive consumption and comfort, vanity, exhibitionism and greed,” said Mehmet Sevket Eygi, a 75-year-old newspaper columnist, who has written extensively about Muslims and wealth.
An Islamic concept called israf forbids consuming more than one needs, but the line is blurry, leaving rich Muslims struggling with questions like whether luxury cars can be offset by donations to charity, a central tenet of Islam.