By Christian George
Iraqi Islam is said to have begun enforcing a ban on alcoholic drinks in the country. This is in line with the 2016 ban on alcoholic beverages.
An official document showed a move some Iraqis attribute to the growing clout of Islamic religious parties that they fear is threatening social freedoms.
Passage by parliament took effect on February 20, seven years after imported alcoholic beverages were prohibited and cannot be sold in local markets, or replaced by domestically manufactured versions.
According to USNews, despite the ban, liquor stores around the capital Baghdad and in some provinces remain open for business with proprietors telling press that they had not been officially informed that they must stop trading.
Iraq is notably a Muslim society where most men and women eschew alcohol, which is proscribed under Islamic religious law, but it is not an Islamic state, critics of the alcohol ban say.
License has been issued to non Muslims to sell alcohol in Iraq but drinking in the piblic is not prohibited.
A lawmaker from Iraq’s Christian minority, Aswan al-Kildani expressed that the ban would limit freedom and is against Iraq’s democratic constitution, and increases fears that Iraq will become an Islamic republic, like neighbouring Iran.
“Iraq is not an Islamic state and there are different religions and sects. Some religions allow drinking alcohol and the government cannot impose a certain opinion or an ideology on all others,” said Baghdad-based political analyst Ali Sahib.