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Islam, alcohol in the spotlight at the World Cup



While the prohibition of alcohol in Islam is believed to be widely observed, not all Muslims abstain from alcohol. Some drink, privately or publicly. In a survey of Muslims around the world conducted by the Pew Research Center, the majority of respondents said that drinking alcohol is morally wrong. More than half in all countries where Muslims were surveyed held this view, including more than 9 in 10 in Thailand, Ghana, Malaysia, the Palestinian territories, Indonesia, Niger and Pakistan, according to the Pew report, which was published in 2013 and included 38,000 interviews. However, in 11 of the 37 countries where this question was asked, at least 1 in 10 said that drinking was morally acceptable, and in some countries a significant percentage said that drinking was not a moral problem. attached to the report.


Alcohol is available in some Islamic countries, although regulations vary widely and there may be complex rules and restrictions on its sale or consumption. In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, alcohol is completely prohibited. Drunkenness there can be punished by flogging, fines, imprisonment, and for foreigners – deportation. The kingdom has been opening up entertainment options in recent years, prompting speculation about whether exemptions for alcohol consumption could be made in the future.

Other places take a more relaxed approach, such as Dubai, a major tourist destination in the United Arab Emirates, known to many for its glitz and love of the ultimate. Dubai boasts an array of bars, nightclubs and lounges that attract many visitors and affluent expats. In recent years, the city has also increasingly relaxed laws governing the sale of alcohol and the possession of alcoholic beverages. As in some other places, the sale of alcohol here is a profitable source of tax revenue.

Alcohol is freely sold in Jordanian liquor stores and served in bars and restaurants throughout the capital city of Oman. It is also available in Muslim-majority Egypt, which is traditionally popular with tourists and is home to a Christian minority. There, the young and rich can sip cocktails or wine at beach clubs or bars, many of which have foreign names, swaying to music. Wine, beer and spirits can also be ordered online among other things.


In arid countries, some went to great lengths to obtain alcohol, sometimes risking arrest or worse. In Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, there have been reports of attempts to circumvent the ban, including shipments of liquor to neighboring Bahrain. Attempts to sneak booze into the kingdom over the years have included bottles of whiskey hidden in socks and cans of beer disguised as Pepsi.

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