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Lebanese Porn Star Mia Khalifa’s Rise Divides Her Home Country

Image: Mia Khalifa.

Mia Khalifa. Mia Khalifa via Instagram

BEIRUT — Lebanon is a small country with a population of just four million so when one of its own achieves success on the world stage it’s usually a cause for celebration.

But it appears there may be exceptions to the rule. The country that reacted with an outpouring of national pride when human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin (now Clooney) became a household name last year is not quite sure how to deal with the news that a Lebanese-American has become one of the most popular porn stars in the world.

Twenty-one-year-old Mia Khalifa, who was born in Lebanon but now lives in Miami, Florida, recently became the most searched for adult performer on the website, PornHub.

Khalifa's achievement has caused a bit of a stir in Lebanon, becoming a main topic of conversation on social media in the past few days.

Some didn’t approve.

Others were uncomfortable for different reasons. Juliana Yazbeck, writing for NOW Lebanon, said she worried what effect Khalifa's newfound fame might have for women in Lebanon.

"It never even crossed my mind to think, 'she doesn’t have the right.' What did cross my mind was: 'Really? Of the very few Lebanese women who are making global headlines, it had to be a porn star?'"

Of course, she was not without her supporters.

Gino Raidy, a Lebanese blogger, wrote: "I think it’s pretty great that at a time when the Lebanese government and authorities are following in the footsteps of our ultra-conservative Arab counterparts and banning porn sites in Lebanon, one of our own topped the charts of the biggest names in online porn."

Then there was this guy.

The fuss didn’t appear to bother Khalifa too much. "Doesn't the Middle East have more important things to worry about besides me?" she asked on Twitter. "How about finding a president? Or containing ISIS?"

This story originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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