Bahrain: MPs Call for Ban on Pork

BAHRAIN - Several MPs are recommending either two-month jail terms or fines of BD300, or both, for anyone in Bahrain who imports, sells or simply possesses pork.
calendar icon 9 February 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

They are all members of the Al Asala bloc, which has already drafted amendments to Bahrain's Penal Code that would outlaw pork.

Their proposal could be voted on during parliament's session tomorrow.

Parliament's foreign affairs, defence and national security committee - headed by Al Asala MP Adel Al Mawaada - is apparently backing the move.

Mr Al Mawaada said it was in line with the country's National Constitution, as well as religious beliefs.

"The first thing Jesus Christ - the saviour of all mankind - would do is break the cross and kill the pig," Mr Al Mawaada told the GDN yesterday.

"The reasons for killing the pig are many, but recent studies have found that pork has a huge negative impact on people's health - among other complications.

"The pig is one of many animals and birds that Islam has banned us from eating, but in the case of other animals and birds there are other uses for them so Islam has allowed their sale - like falcons and dogs.

"Pig products, or pork, should be kept away from our markets because it is clear they are harmful and have no other benefit.

"That is why we have come up with amendments to the Penal Code to ensure this."

Mr Al Maawada, who was not present when the committee recommended a ban on pork, said it had his full backing.

"I agree with it and so do other MPs," he claimed.

"Whether I am present or not, I believe it is genuine and shouldn't be delayed."

The Al Asala group consists of Salafi Muslims, a Sunni movement in which they strive to emulate the lifestyle of those who lived during the early years of Islam, reports Bahrain's Gulf Daily News.

However, the proposal appears to have won over supporters from other groups - including Al Wefaq, the largest political group representing Bahrain's Shi'ite community.

Foreign affairs, defence and national security committee vice-chairman and Al Wefaq MP Abdulhussain Al Metgawie, said he hoped the pork ban would make it past the government - if a majority of the 40 MPs in parliament back it.

"I believe the majority in parliament will vote in favour of the amendment and we hope the government will listen to us," he said.

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