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Al Karama, Dubai

Al Karama, Dubai

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Al Karama, or simply Karama , literally meaning dignity, is a residential district of Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 close to Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek or Khor Dubai is a saltwater creek located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates . It ends at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. Some sources say that the creek extended as far inland as Al Ain, and that the Ancient Greeks called it River Zara. Historically, the creek divided the city into two...

 and part of the bustling older part of the city
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

. It is outwardly distinctive due to the regularity of its low-rise residential buildings. Although it is primarily a residential area, it is known in Dubai as a centre for cheap furniture and the covert sale of counterfeit branded goods such as handbags and watches. It is also famous for its bargain shopping and for its huge variety of good and affordable restaurants. They offer authentic cuisines from India, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, Singapore in addition to Arabic food and fast food outlets.
A number of coffee shops, shisha cafes, confectionaries, bakeries and popular tea stalls dot every nook and corner of Karama.
The area, which was planned on a tight grid system, is home to thousands of people even though it is only two square kilometers in size. Al Karama is the most populous residential area in Dubai, outside of areas zoned
Zoning is a device of land use planning used by local governments in most developed countries. The word is derived from the practice of designating permitted uses of land based on mapped zones which separate one set of land uses from another...

 to house labour accommodations.

It stretches for 2km between the creekside diplomatic area to the north, containing numerous consulates, and Zabeel Park to the south, a $50-million technology-themed public park opened in December 2005. Zabeel Park divides Karama from the landmark Dubai World Trade Centre
Dubai World Trade Centre
The Dubai World Trade Centre is a business complex in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, built by H.H. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. It is located along Sheikh Zayed Road at the Trade Centre Roundabout...

, as well as Sheikh Zayed Road
Sheikh Zayed Road
E 11 is a highway in the United Arab Emirates. The longest road in the UAE, E 11 streches from Al Silah in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and ends in Ras Al Khaimah emirate at the Oman border, running roughly parallel to UAE's coastline along the Persian Gulf...

 and its famous skyscrapers.

The district's western boundary is Trade Centre Road, where the popular BurJuman
BurJuman is a shopping mall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates . Located on Khalid bin Al Waleed Street in Bur Dubai, BurJuman is considered to be one of the oldest malls in the country. An underground Dubai Metro station for the Red Line and Green Line is currently situated at this location...

 shopping mall is located.

The majority of Karama's population has traditionally been middle class South Asian expatriates, although Dubai's cosmopolitan nature is also well represented, with the presence of many other nationalities such as people from Philippines, Iran, Lebanon and many European nations. Virtually all residents are non-UAE nationals, meaning that they are obliged to rent their apartments. The typical annual rent for a one-bedroom flat was about 42,000 dirhams
United Arab Emirates dirham
The dirham is the currency of the United Arab Emirates. The ISO 4217 code for the United Arab Emirates dirham is AED. Unofficial abbreviations include DH or Dhs. The dirham is subdivided into 100 ....

 (US$11,500) in June 2006, having risen sharply in the previous 18 months.

Al Karama is also served by a metro station which is located in the middle of the Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Street, next to the Union Co-operative supermarket. It is an elevated station with access on both sides of the road and air-conditioned pedestrian bridges.

One notable national community is the Omani contingent, who originally settled in Karama in the early 1980s with the help of Dubai's first modern ruler, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum
Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum
HH The Emir Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum was the Vice-President and Prime Minister of United Arab Emirates and Emir of Dubai...

, the late father of the current rulers. About 8,000 Omanis who were among the tens of thousands displaced from Zanzibar in the 1960s later found themselves stateless and homeless until Sheikh Rashid offered them sanctuary with the construction of Hamdan Colony, a collection of apartment blocks which still stand in Karama.

The area has become increasingly popular for families since self contained apartments are slightly cheaper and offer better amenities than other parts of Dubai south of the creek. Numerous commercial units exist along the main thoroughfares.
Parking space is becoming increasingly difficult to find as car parks are built over and car ownership increases. The covered parking included as a feature of many new buildings has not eased the situation. Besides the widespread sale of counterfeit goods, reported crime is relatively high in common with other parts of Dubai south of the creek.

However, residents of Karama (and Dubai) were shocked by the murder of a business magnate outside an Indian expatriates' club near the area on January 19, 2003. Sharad Shetty
Sharad Shetty
Sharad Shetty was an Indian mobster based in Dubai. He was one of Dawood Ibrahim’s top aides and was known to control most of the cricket betting racket in the Indian sub-continent. He belonged to the powerful Bunt community of South Canara district of Karnataka. Sharad Shetty was shot dead at The...

, who controlled a vast cricket betting empire in India, was shot dead by hired gunmen.