December 2, 2012
Posted: 1150 GMT
American reality TV star and all-around celebrity Kim Kardashian can't seem to please anyone in the Middle East these days.
Just weeks after causing a Twitter outrage with her comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kardashian's appearance in Bahrain Saturday to open a branch of a milkshake franchise prompted street protests.
While throngs of adoring fans paid up to $1,200 to attend her appearance at a mall in the tiny Gulf kingdom, about 100 hardline Islamists protested outside where, according to reports, police used stun grenades to disperse the crowd.
One protestor held a particularly crude banner that read "Syria receives martyrs while Bahrain receives whores."
Last Tuesday a group of conservative Bahraini parliamentarians put forth a proposal to ban Kardashian from visiting the country, citing her "bad reputation," but the motion gained no traction and was not put to a vote.
The buxom brunette, who is prolific on social media, paid no heed to the protests, instead focusing on her fawning fans and tweeting multiple photos of herself – seeming to take particular delight in all things camel – posing in front of camels in the desert and holding a glass of camel milk.
During the official opening of Millions of Milkshakes at a mall south of the capital Manama, a local paper quoted her praising all things Bahrain – from its women: "I love the girls here; their make up and hair are beautiful"... to promoting the country as a tourist destination "People from the States should come here because the country and the people are so amazing and welcoming that I am planning to be back here on my vacation."
However it was her praise for Bahrain's ruler that sparked an outpouring of angry responses on Twitter.
The island nation has seen intermittent unrest since February 2011 as violent clashes have broken out between security forces and opposition protesters on numerous occasions, including government crackdowns that have drawn the ire of international rights organizations.
Just weeks ago, Kardashian stirred up another controversy in Twitter-verse by saying that she was "praying for Israel" during the eight days of Israel-Gaza violence that left over 150 people dead, the vast majority of them Palesitnian. She later tweeted that she was also "praying for Palestine," but the compounded backlash caused her to remove both tweets and apologize on her blog: "The fact is that regardless of religion and political beliefs, there are countless innocent people involved who didn't choose this, and I pray for all of them and also for a resolution."
It may be asking too much to expect an American reality TV star to familiarize herself with the Middle East's political complexities. Political blunders aside, Kardashian has maintained her fan base in the region.
If nothing else, she's got people talking.
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