We haven't heard much from the predominantly Islamic countries of the middle east about the consumption of Alcoholic Beverages lately, but they are handling it with prohibition, what appears to be violence and Religious Police.
Qatar restaurants see decline after alcohol ban
Sharifa Ghanem Bikya Masr : 10 - 01 - 2012
DUBAI: Qatar's food and hospitality sector has reported large declines in revenue after the country banned the sale of alcohol to customers on the Pearl development on an island off the capital Doha.
According to a number of establishments on the development, a December 12 ruling that said they could no longer serve alcohol to guests has left many restaurants with a reduction in earnings by nearly 50 percent.
The move has been seen as a sign of rising tensions between the conservative Islamists in the country and the more liberal nature of the tiny Gulf Sultanate.
“We are struggling and are hoping that the decision will be reversed because it is hitting our sales a lot because people would come out here for a drink and food. Now they aren't coming,” said one manager of a high-end restaurant.
He told Bikyamasr.com on condition of anonymity that “Qatar is not a very conservative society and for this decision to come down shows the power of a small minority,” the manager added.
Managers of restaurants located on the popular tourist spot said they had received no explanation for the ban or any indication on whether it might be lifted in the future.
“Every restaurant on the Pearl is banned [from selling alcohol]. We were told around mid-December,” said Sumeet Jinghan, country manager for Foodmark, the hospitality arm of retail giant Landmark Group. “We don't know if it is indefinite, there was nothing in writing or communicated to us as to how long it is going to last.”
South Lebanon restaurant that serves liquor bombed
Weedah Hamzah Bikya Masr : 28 - 12 - 2011
Beirut (dpa) – An explosion Wednesday rocked the southern port city of Tyre, causing only material damage and no casualties, Lebanese police said.
A two-kilogram bomb made of TNT went off near the seaside Tyros restaurant, which serves liquor, the police said.
On November 16, a similar blast took place near the Queen Elissa Hotel. There were no victims in that attack and no one has claimed responsibility.
Alcohol is not banned in Lebanon, but in areas under the control of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah and extremist radical Sunni movements liquor is not allowed.
Saudi Arabia arrests foreigner for celebrating New Year's with balloons
Sharifa Ghanem Bikya Masr : 01 - 01 - 2012
DUBAI: A foreign resident in Saudi Arabia was arrested by the country's religious police on New Year's Eve for displaying balloons to celebrate the new year, the daily news website Sabq reported.
According to the report, the man – described as an Arab expatriate living in the country – was arrested as he was walking though the streets in violation of the ban of celebrating the New Year in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom.
In December, Sheikh Abdel Aziz bin Abdullah, the country's top Muslim cleric, deemed celebrations of the New Year, birthdays and marriage anniversary un-Islamic.
The arrest highlights the ongoing conservatism in the country, and comes after religious police have been cracking down on citizens for breaking “un-Islamic” laws in the country.
Late last year, a report published by a leading Islamic scholar in the country warned that if women were given the right to drive it would lead to the end of virginity in the country, angering many activists who have called for greater freedoms in the country.
“We have been fighting for our rights and these continued arrests show we have not gotten very far,” said Mona Abdullah Aziz, a 24-year-old Saudi activist living in Dubai. She told Bikyamasr.com that “the way the government arrests people, men and women, for wanting to live their lives is wrong on all levels.”
Egypt to restrict duty free booze, close shops in country
Desmond Shephard Bikya Masr : 22 - 12 - 2011
CAIRO: A finance ministry directive earlier this month went almost unnoticed as the Egyptian capital erupted in violence between the military and protesters. New regulations could have major affects on travelers to and from the North African country, however, as the ministry regulations state that upon arrival to Egypt, only one bottle of alcohol will be permitted, and only two annually from duty free shops abroad.
According to the ministry, and confirmed by local managers of duty free shops in the country, all alcohol will be removed from the shops in the coming months, but no clear timetable for the changes has been put to paper.
One ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media, told Bikyamasr.com that the move is not a push “to ban alcohol, but to boost local economy.”
He argued that by limiting the amount of alcohol that a tourist or Egyptian is able to bring into the country, “it means they will have to buy locally and this will help the economy a lot.”
However, Will Rensper, a German resident in Egypt, said that it is more likely in response to the growing conservative Islamic groups in the country.
“I believe that this is a move to help appease the Islamists who want to do their best to push drinking away from Egypt and make this country conservative,” the German teacher said, adding that he had recently come into the country with four bottles of alcohol and had no trouble.
It is unclear when, or if, the new regulations will be put in place, but earlier this fall, Egyptian officials announced that visas for foreigners would no longer be given upon arrival at airports, but less than 72 hours after the announcement, the move was revoked.
It is unclear if this will be the case for booze, but it does have foreigners and Egyptians alike worried that it is highlighting the pull of the Islamic groups in the country.