• Short Summary

    For the past century Britain has played a dominant role in the Middle East, traditionally sending more people to that area than it received in return.

  • Description

    LONDON, U.K.

    SV ZOOM OUT FROM: Chauffeur by car to Arabs sitting on pavement outside mosque
    SV: Arabs walking in streets. (5 shots)
    SV: Arabs walking past Marks and Spencers.
    GV: Gulf Air jet taxiing at Heathrow and Arabs leaving aircraft, greeted by relatives (3 shots)
    CU: Airport security notice in English and Arabic.
    SV SIGN: Park Lane and PAN DOWN: Dorchester Hotel (2 shots)
    GV: Royal Kensington Hotel and Park Tower Hotel (2 shots)
    GV: Belvedere
    CU: SIGN - Saville Row
    CU PAN DOWN: Tailor's shop window
    CU: Arab tailor talking to customer and showing cloth
    SV: Arab standing at fruit stall
    CU SIGN: Beirut on restaurant and people eating inside (2 shots)
    CU: Qatar National Bank sign
    CU INTERIOR: Stockbroker talking on telephone about one million dollar deal with prices on television screen
    CU: Arab editor of magazine on telephone and reporter reading Arab newspaper (2 shots)
    GV: New mosque under construction
    SV PAN UP: Shows outside mosque to Arabs entering
    TV: Arabs during prayer.
    GV PAN OVER EXTERIOR OF: Mosque with Arabs walking beside it.

    Initials RH/AMN/AW/1855
    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
    Background: For the past century Britain has played a dominant role in the Middle East, traditionally sending more people to that area than it received in return. But now the tables have turned. Bemused Londoners look on as hundreds of thousands of Arabs from all Middle East states make their presence felt in the British capital.
    Friday lunchtime in Regent's Park, it's not unusual to see a Moslem leap out of a Rolls Royce to kneel on the pavement. He joins hundreds of others in prayers outside the temporary mosque which has been too small to accommodate all of London's moslems.
    When they come to London the Arabs bring their relatives, their religion and their money. A conservative estimate by the British Tourist Authority puts their spending here last year at 106 million pounds; the number of tourists at more than 280,000. This year with the collapse of Beirut in the Lebanese civil war the figures have increased sharply.
    Until last summer, the Saudis, Kuwaiti and Gulf Arabs traditionally spent their summers in the cool mountains of Lebanon. Now they escape their scorching hot summers by coming to London, though this year they've brought their weather with them. In the 60s it was the Americans who were the big spenders. Now they arrive on package holidays and the Arabs emerge as the big tourists of the 70s.
    They also look like settling in London. This year they bought the famous Dorchester Hotel for nine million pounds. Other purchases of some of the capital's most prestigious and expensive properties followed. Then they bought Fort Belvedere, a favourite home of King Edward the Eighth before his abdication.
    The Middle Eastern infiltration of British tradition is even more marked when it comes to trade and commerce. An Arab tailor has set up shop in famous Savile Row selling, of course, only the best English cloth.
    And for any Arab longing for a taste of the old country, a host of Middle East restaurants are springing up in London.
    With the collapse of Beirut several Arab banks have opened in London. And it's all big business.
    Some observers now claim if it wasn't for Arab money the British economy would collapse. But whether true or not, no-one on the stock exchange is complaining.
    One thing is certain; when it comes to investment the Arabs are discreet. But a London Arab newspaper keeps them informed of each others' activities.
    The Arab presence has a strong note of permanence. They're building their own Mecca in Regent's Park to replace the temporary shelter beside it where they pray now. Wealthy residents in the exclusive area have been assured that no nuisance will be caused from the top of the minaret. But the early morning call of the wailing muezzin includes the line "Prayer is better than sleep". When completed the four million pound building will not only be one of the greatest mosques in the west but also in the Islam world.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Time in/Out:

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment