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News of the recent financial meltdown of Dubai World -- a quasi-sovereign global concern that owns 77 percent of the international port manager DP World and the single largest real estate developer in Dubai known for its palm-tree shaped luxury residential developments -- raced from the business pages to the headlines of the front pages in a matter of days.

Since the first reports on Thanksgiving, the Wall Street Journal and just about every other major media outlet reported extensively on the worldwide implications of this latest financial shock wave.

What makes this story more than simply one of a massive real estate investment company gone bad is the double-edged sword so prevalent in the chase for oil-based Middle East wealth: Sovereign wealth funds and Shariah-compliant finance.

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