Iraq imposes ban on alcoholic beverages

Iraq has officially banned the import, production and sale of alcoholic beverages of all kinds on March 4, 2023 although the ban was passed in 2016 while its implementation was paused due to objections from religious minorities and secularists. The new law imposes fines for violations of between 10 million and 25 million dinars (US$7,700-US$19,000).

In February 2023, the law instituting the ban was published in Iraq’s official gazette, paving the way for implementation. The coalition of new Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, who took office in October 2022, is dominated by Shiite Islamist parties and militias in the Coordination Framework who support the ban.

According to anti-Iraq media outlets, some Iraqis, especially those from the Yazidi and Christian communities, are protesting the ban.

Iraq is a Muslim majority country with Shiite and Sunni Muslims, while there is a smaller fraction of Christians, Yazidis, Zorastrians, Mandaeans and other population. Critics of Iraq said, the law banning alcoholic beverage is a “step toward turning Iraq into an Islamic country”.

Diya Butros, an activist in the predominantly Chaldean Catholic town of Ankawa, told Al-Monitor, “This is ethnic discrimination. It’s a violation of the rights of non-Muslim religions that do not forbid alcohol”.

Ali Saheb, an Iraqi political analyst, told Independent Arabia on March 6 that Iraq is not an Islamic country, and “Some religions allow drinking alcohol, and the government cannot impose a certain opinion or ideology on other”.

Mirza Dinnayi is a Yazidi activist and chairman of Luftbrucke Irak, a non-governmental organization told Al-Monitor, “The law is contrary to the constitution because Iraq is a multi-ethnic, -religious and -cultural country, and drinking alcohol is not prohibited for many”.

Dinnayi also argued that if alcohol drinkers turn to other alternatives, the ban could provide an opportunity for the spread of drug use stating, “The majority of Muslim countries do not ban alcohol, but rather regulate it. Why doesn’t the Iraqi government do something similar, instead of banning it totally?”

While American invaders and their agents in Iraq term this brand as “religiously motivated by the Islamic prohibition on alcohol”, in my opinion, Iraq, being a Muslim-dominated country does not need to listen to what war-monger Americans and their Western cronies say about any law formulated in Iraq. The country belongs to Iraqis and it does not belong to American invaders. But again, I would say, instead of imposing a total ban on import, production and distribution on alcoholic beverage, Iraqi authorities can restrict sale of it by introducing license which can be issued to consumers of alcoholic beverage. Most importantly, Iraq soon will recover from the damage caused by American invaders and the country once again shall witness lost of tourists from around the world. A total ban on alcoholic beverage in that case may hamper its prospective tourism industry.

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