‘Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor – The Autobiography’ was officially unveiled at a private launch in London at high-end retailer Harrods in Knightsbridge in October. Joanna Andrews reports.
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group officially unveiled his best-selling autobiography to the UK market at a book launch and signing at luxury retailer Harrods in Knightsbridge, London on Thursday October 17th, 2013.
Attendees at the private event, which was held in the exclusive Penthouse, included members of the UK media and high profile guests including former Labour Party peer Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham; The Right Honourable Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who is a Conservative member of the House of Lords and Minister of Faith and Communities; The Rt Rev Lord Richard Harries of Pentregarth, former Bishop of Oxford; Fawaz Gruosi, Founder and Creative Director of De Grisogono jewellery.
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor - The Autobiography is the story of a self-made man who grew up in poverty, sleeping on the floor of a barasti (‘palm frond’). Al Habtoor lived through some of the most crucial turning points in history and recalls his life against the backdrop of momentous world affairs. The birth of the UAE Federation in 1971, the Gulf War in the early 1990s and the 9/11 attacks are just some of the events he records making his memoirs a starting point for much-needed political and social debate.
Al Habtoor is a proud Arab and son of the UAE, who is committed to making our world a better place. But he is also someone who is not afraid to speak out, not afraid to criticise if he feels it is the right thing to do.
“Tolerance and understanding are crucial during an era of increased Islamophobia in Europe and the US,” Al Habtoor writes in his book.
With the UK currently seeing a worrying rise in Islamophobic attacks, the words of Khalaf Al Habtoor – taken from his newly published memoirs – have an even greater relevance and resonance.
“It saddens me that so many non- Muslims have difficulty understanding the essence of the Islamic faith, which promotes peace, tolerance, charity, right thinking, self-discipline and a code of respectful behaviour,” he adds.
In his book US President Jimmy Carter and the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have both had parts to play in his life, and he has offered advice to UK Prime Minister David Cameron on diplomacy in the Middle East.
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor – The Autobiography was released in the GCC in December 2012 and has already hit several best-sellers lists.