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Al Karama, or simply Karama ( ), literally meaning dignity, is a residential district of Dubaimarker close to Dubai Creekmarker and part of the bustling older part of the city. 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.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 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 Centremarker, as well as Sheikh Zayed Roadmarker and its famous skyscrapers.

Karama Shopping Centre area of Al Karama.
district's western boundary is Trade Centre Road, where the popular BurJuman shopping mall is located.Despite Karama's excellent location and amenities, some residents complain that it still lacks character and is devoid of any community feeling or focal points, in common with many areas of expatriate population in Dubai. This is mainly due to the diffuse cultural and language background of residents, as well as the obvious lack of expatriate representation.

Karama's numerous residential buildings are typically fourThe 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 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 (US$11,500) in June 2006, having risen sharply in the previous 18 months.

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, 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 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 at an Indian expatriates' club in the area on January 19, 2003. Sharad Shetty, who controlled a vast cricket betting empire in India, was shot dead by hired gunmen.


  1. Existing Population and Future Holding Capalities in Dubai Area. Dubai Healthcare City. 2000

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