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Iraq's Parliament votes to ban alcohol

DBR Staff Writer Published 25 October 2016

Iraq's parliament has passed a bill for a complete ban on the sale, import and production of alcohol.

The law entitles the state to fine Iraqi dinars 25m ($21,000) for anyone violating the alcohol ban.

However, the parliament hasn’t given any clarity on how the law would be enforced. It is likely to be struck down by the Supreme Court, as reported by the Associated Press.

While the ban on alcohol is in line with Islamic principles, the minority Christian community has rejected it because of their business interests as well as the religious freedom granted by the Iraqi constitution.

Several Muslim-majority nations have alcohol restricting laws but only a few of them like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have a complete ban on it.

As per Islam, alcohol consumption is forbidden. However, alcohol has been available in some of the larger cities in Iraq, mainly from outlets run by Christians.

With the Iraqi parliament comprising mainly of Shiite Islamic parties, it wasn’t difficult for the alcohol ban law to pass through. The only minimum opposition to it came from the Christian lawmakers who have been outnumbered significantly.

A Christian lawmaker by the name Joseph Slaiwa called the ban as “unjust” while revealing that it will be challenged at the High Federal Court of the country.

Slaiwa was quoted in the publication as saying: "This ban is unconstitutional, as the constitution acknowledges the rights of non-Muslim minorities and ethnic groups who live alongside Muslims in Iraq.

"To those Muslim lawmakers I say: Take care of your religion and leave ours for us, we know how to deal with it."

Kurdistan, which runs its own parliament, has said that it rejects the Iraqi law that bans alcohol. Kurdish officials have decided not to implement it in their autonomous region inside Iraq, as reported by ARA News.


Image: Iraqi parliament passed a bill to ban alcohol. Photo: courtesy of TrafficJan82/wiki.