Saudi Arabia opens first alcohol shop in 70 years

by wilburcarder

islam alcohol

Muslims prefer to drink mocktails or non-alcoholic drinks

We know that Muslims don’t drink alcohol, and they choose mocktails instead, but Muslims aren’t the only people who live in Muslim countries. In a bid to modernize and westernize Saudi Arabia the Kingdom is allowing the first alcohol shop to be open in 70 years.

The client’s will be limited to diplomatic staff, say sources in local media. These are people who have been for years importing illicit alcohol finally making it legal.

Read Related: Summer mocktails for Muslims in America

Prohibition has been law in Saudi Arabia since 1952, after one of King Abdulaziz’s sons drunkenly shot dead a British diplomat. Mishari bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, a prince, shot and killed Cyril Ousman, the British vice-consul in Jeddah, in 1951 for refusing to pour him another drink at a function. Mishari was convicted of murder.

The new store will be located in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter, according to a document seen by the AFP and Reuters. 

A source the shop was expected to open within weeks. There will be limitations, however:

  • Thirsty envoys would need to register beforehand and receive clearance by the government
  • No one under 21 will be allowed in the store and “proper attire is required” at all times inside
  • Drinkers will not be able to send a proxy, such as a driver
  • Monthly limitations would be enforced, the statement said.

Other limits is that patrons will be limited to 240 “points” of alcohol per month whereas one litre of spirits will be worth six points, one liter of wine three points and one liter of beer one point.

Carakale craft beer in Jordan. The company is thriving despite a Muslim majority

Related: Jordan gets its first brewery, upsetting Muslim leaders

The allowances are expected to widen to tourists and foreigners.

Even if alcohol is permitted to some in Saudi Arabia, sharia laws should not be forgotten: penalties for consumption or possession of alcohol can include fines, jail time, public flogging and deportation for unauthorised foreigners.

The moves are the latest in a series of initiatives known as “Vision 2030” to liberalise Saudi society under the crown prince and de facto ruler of the country, Mohammed bin Salman.

Other Gulf states operate similar alcohol programs.

Wine has never bee prohibited in the Holy Land, Israel as Jews used wine to sanctify the Sabbath and in other rituals.

Produced in the Middle East for the last 5,000 years, wine is even mentioned in the bible. The Bible’s Noah is attributed as the man who discovered the wine making process. When the Jewish King David ruled around 3,000 BCE — the same David depicted in Michelangelo’s sculpture in Italy — he was said to have an extensive wine cellar where he employed a man to select his wines for his meals.

There is a rumor told to us by vintner Roni Saslove that the Chardonnay grape and wine from France is actually an import from grape vines growing around ancient Jerusalem –– they were harvested around “Sha’ar Adonay” or God’s gate.

So wine isn’t going anywhere in the Middle East and it’s seeing a return to Saudi Arabian visitors. Locals have their own vices. Captagon is in. According to this source Saudi Arabia is the biggest consumer of the illicit drug peddled by Syria’s Prime Ministerial family and First Lady Asma al Assad who was born and bred in London, England:

“The largest supplies of Captagon are going to Saudi Arabia. In efforts to reduce imports, Saudi authorities have increased raids at key border crossings in recent years, resulting in high-profile, widely publicized seizures, especially at the Haditha border crossing.”

According to the US Department of State heroin and hashish are the most heavily-consumed substances, but Saudi officials report that cocaine and amphetamines are also in demand. Paint and glue inhalation and abuse of prescription drugs is also reported.

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