Who would have thought...
Shunned by most Muslim countries where pork consumption is a religious taboo, pig farming is blooming in Morocco thanks to a growing tourist industry and pragmatic breeders like 39-year-old Said Samouk.
"If there's tourism, it would be better to have pigs," said Samouk, who raises 250 pigs at his farm 28 kilometres (17 miles) from the seaside town of Agadir.
After being battered by a wave of bird flu, the Moroccan farmer launched a pig operation 20 years ago in partnership with an elderly French man.
Today, Samouk spins dreams of doubling his production within three years to help meet the demands of some 10 million tourists expected to visit Morocco in 2010 - up from 7.5 million who flocked to the north African country in 2007.
"I'm a practising Muslim. I don't eat pork and I don't drink alcohol but it's just a breeding operation like any other and no Imam has ever reprimanded me for it," he said of raising pigs - whose consumption is prohibited in both Islam and Judaism.
Outlawed in Algeria, Mauritania and Libya, pig farming is nonetheless authorised in Tunisia as in Morocco, to cater to the flocks of European and other non-Muslim tourists who head to north Africa's spectacular beaches and deserts.
"Our clientele is 98 percent European. They want bacon for breakfast, ham for lunch and pork chops for dinner," said Ahmad Bartoul, a buyer for a large Agadir hotel. Signs are posted on buffet tables to avoid any confusion about the meat's origin.
Morocco's swine industry comprises some 5,000 pigs raised on seven farms located near Agadir, Casablanca and the north-central city of Taza. The breeders include a Christian, two Jews and four Muslims.
In contrast, take a look at the latest news from Algeria......who would have thought...
ALGIERS - Algeria has ordered the closure of 13 Protestant churches, the head of the denomination said Monday, amid anger over allegations that Evangelist Christians are trying to convert Muslims.
The churches have been told to close their doors until they are issued the permit which non-Muslim groups in theory must have if they want to pursue organised worship, Pastor Mustapha Krim said.
"Thirteen chapels, including 11 in Tizi Ouzou, one in Bejaia and one in Bouira have been closed on the orders of local officials," said Krim, who is the leader of the Protestant Church in Algeria.
"No reason has been given for this decision," he said, adding that he had made a formal request for explanation from the Algerian state's representative in the Tizi Ouzou region.