News has been spreading in Qatar that pork products are now available for purchase in the country, albeit only from the single Qatar Distribution Company store, and only to those with alcohol permits.
It marks an important shift in the conservative Muslim country, which has strict rules on the consumption of alcohol, and previously banned pork entirely. The change in government policy is a polarizing one, and Twitter has seen an outpouring of opinions from residents of Qatar, both citizens and expats.
Some have asked, what's the fuss?
@Marieboo713: I don't get why everyone is making a big fuss for #porkinqatar. If you don't like it, don't eat it…
@ThisisMK1: #PorkInQatar what difference gonna make? If ur religion ban it dnt buy it n dnt eat it! What's the fuss all abt! Isn't alcohol banned 2?
While others argue it's not necessary:
@chearn73: #PorkInQatar is a particularly bad idea if it makes locals resent us! I want to be accepted, not hated.
If not down right offensive:
@tharveyom: #PorkinQatar , its a muslim country so u should respect the morals and values of the people there!
@sewalef: Ppl don't get it. Its not about the pork – its about us feeling more & more like a minority – in our own country. #qatar #porkinqatar
Qatari national Fahad AlAssiry, meanwhile, argues there's no point comparing controls on pork and alcohol:
@FahadAlAssiry: The argument about alcohol not being denounced is invalid, breaking a principle once does not justify another instance. #porkinQatar
@FahadAlAssiry: The fact that alcohol is undeniably a significant component in most non-muslim lifestyles makes it slightly more justifiable. #porkinQatar
Others have expressed concerns over the impact the change might have:
@KhalidAlRabban: I never thought the day would come that I have to ask the waiter in a restaurant in Qatar what kind of meat is in their burgers #PorkInQatar
And questioned the priorities of national reforms:
@R_AlDosari: selling #porkinQatar has nothing to do with being civilized whatsoever!I think we need to redefine terms and concepts here in Qatar!
@R_AlDosari: you are okay with #porkinQatar BUT not ok with some tribes in Qatar and not Ok with the kids from non-Qatari father & not ok with bdoon!
@adriatomatic: #porkinqatar one fact about it it's only benefitting few, whereas if it was widespread, much more people would benefit wealth redistribution
But it also begs comparison as to how non-Muslim countries react to Muslim practices:
@LULW_: RT @ReyRevolver: RT @tamtoom_: if you don't want #PorkinQatar then don't expect non-muslim countries to offer halal food for your sorry asses. hypocrites.
@orcl8: Do not compare #PorkinQatar with halal food in West because halal food is not offensive or illegal in their religions #Qatar
Despite the controversy, the meat has already proven popular:
@blakehounshell: QDC says it sold 10% of its first shipping container in four hours #porkinqatar
@sandychoi: Dutch bacon: it's what's for dinner in #Doha #bacongate #freedompork http://pic.twitter.com/jVKEcDMW
And plenty of folks have felt free to joke about the issue:
@AishaAlJufairi: RT @KKAlThani: #PorkInQatar? As long as it's Halal, I don't mind.
@ammr: طلعت تأشيرتك خنزيري الحبيب #PorkInQatar #BoycottQAirways http://twitpic.com/7i1nyi #qatar #doha
@danalthani: @shamozal “Dear pig! Your Doha visa has arrived! now you can be friends with their chickens and fish”#porkInQatar #BoycottQAirways
Some are trying to predict what will be next for Qatar:
@khalifa_MK: Cheerleaders next :D #porkinQatar
No matter how outlandish…
@Bo5alood_12: First they made alcohol legal ,then they say now you can buy #PorkinQatar ,next they will take prostitution as a real job!!!!
Others, meanwhile, are seeking to take action:
@Reem_abdulKarim: #PorkInQatar this is your chance to be real Angry Birds and start attacking those ugly pigs who are occupying your markets. ;p
@Jaber_AlMulla: http://twb.ly/uimRXk Please put the logo for “stop pork in Qatar” and share i
Most notable, perhaps, is the #BoycottQAirways hashtag, which has seen hundreds of angry tweets, predominantly in Arabic.
Qatar Distribution Company (QDC), which is the exclusive retailer of pork and alcohol products for home consumption in the country, is a service of the Qatar Airways Group. And that, obviously, has led to calls for a boycott against the country's only airline.
So what do you think of all of this? Should Muslim beliefs be respected by all in a conservative country, or does it come down to the right to make personal choices?