Muslim Country Unveils World's Most Expensive Christmas Tree

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Islamophobic conspiracy theorists have long warned that Muslims are secretly "infiltrating" American society as part of a plan to slowly transform the U.S. into an Islamic Caliphate, a wild-eyed plot they call "creeping sharia."

But what if the creeping sharia folks had paranoid counterparts in the Middle East--conspiracy theorists who presumably believe that stealth Christians are gradually annexing the Persian Gulf on behalf of the Pope? That theory--call it "creeping salvation"--could have just gotten a big boost, if it existed. A state-owned luxury hotel in United Arab Emirate capital Abu Dhabi, where Islam is the official state religion, has just completed the world's most expensive Christmas tree, "valued at more than $11m." The details:

The 13-metre fake evergreen tree is located in the hotel’s lobby, and is decorated with silver and gold bows, ball-shaped ornaments and small white lights.

However, the record value of the tree is due to the necklaces, earings and other jewellery draped over its branches.

Hotel General Manager Hans Olbertz played down the opulence, telling reporters that "the tree itself" was only $10,000.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.