Buying Muslim

Firms are discovering that halal isn't a religious constraint--it's a consumer lifestyle

Palani Mohan / Reportage by Getty Images for TIME

FRESH LOOK: Malaysia-based El Hajj markets skincare products such as moisturizer and facial cleanser to pilgrims headed to Mecca

Khalfan Mohammed has long been buffeted by culture shock while staying in five-star hotels. As a devout Muslim he has learned to ask staff to remove the minibar's alcohol. He loathes lobbies with loud discos and drunken guests. When traveling with his parents, it is the bikinis that rankle most. "It was quite shocking for my mother to sit in a restaurant with undressed people," the Abu Dhabi-based businessman says. "My mom and dad are not used to seeing people in public wearing their underwear." To avoid such embarrassment, the Mohammeds took to renting furnished apartments.

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