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Qatar Cooking Up a Storm Over Pork Sales

by 5m Editor
6 February 2012, at 7:38am

QATAR - The decision by Doha’s only off-licence to start selling pork products in December has resulted in online controversy, with expatriates and locals split on the surprise move by the retailer.

Accessible only to non-Muslims with an alcohol licence, the QDC store in Doha began selling packets of sausages and bacon from QR28 ($7.6) in the run up to Christmas. According to ArabianBusiness.com, the move was welcomed by many pork-loving expatriate workers, with stocks reportedly selling out in a matter of hours.

"It’s very good news," one resident told the Qatar Living website, while another hoped this would be the start of a wider roll out of pork products to other outlets across the city.

"Good move! But still hope that Qatar someday will follow the same as in DUBAI & OMAN where there are NON-MUSLIM section in SPINNEYS & AL-FAIR respectively in which pork products are available," another reader commented.

While there were reports QDC may increase its supplies in the wake of the popularity of the produce, or even open a second store, some observers have said the ban on pork products should be reinstated.

"They should not sell it. It only appeals to some expatriates in Qatar, albeit a tiny percentage of them, and like any country in the world it is reasonable enough to expect some degree of respect for the local laws and norms. Qatar is a pretty liberal place any ways, and the people who do eat pork, will not be giving up too much in other ways by not eating it," one commentator said.

The move has been condemned by others who see it as a step too far and an insult to the local Muslim population. "What’s next? legalization of abortion in Qatar?" said one outraged reader, while another online opponent of the move has set up a ‘Stop Pork in Qatar’ online group.

The only other venue pork is available to buy in Qatar is the American Military Base, but this is only available to American military personnel.

The backlash against the sale of pork comes as it was revealed restaurants and bars on Qatar’s flagship Pearl development have seen revenues slump by more than 50 percent in the wake of a new ruling banning the sale of alcohol to customers.

Outlets on the manmade island off the coast of Doha were told on 12 December they could no longer serve drinks to guests in what is seen as a display of tension between Qatar’s Muslim culture and its largely expatriate population.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.