In Qatar and abroad, reaction to the permanent installation of a 5-meter (16-foot) bronze statue depicting two fighting footballers on the Corniche last week has varied wildly, from admiration, respect and amusement to bewilderment, anger and disappointment.
Over the past few days, a new issue with the statue, which depicts French football player Zinedine Zidane head-butting Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup, has been brought up, with some locals saying it offends religious sensibilities.
Depictions of living creatures, such as humans and animals, are discouraged in Islam, over concerns about idolatry and challenges to the monotheistic faith.
However, many Muslim countries honor their leaders by featuring their faces in currency, hanging up portraits of them and erecting statues in their likeness.
Nonetheless, the Twitter hashtag #تمثال_زيدان_بالكورنيش (Zidane’s statue on the Corniche) has been gaining momentum today, with some residents calling for the removal of the statue out of respect for Qatar’s Islamic beliefs.