Iraq MPs in suprise vote to ban sale, import and production of alcohol

Iraq’s parliament has voted to ban the sale, import and production of alcohol. The surprise move was a last-minute addition to a draft law on municipalities which caught opponents flat-footed. The law was passed by MPs in Baghdad as all eyes were on Mosul, where forces are involved in Iraq’s biggest military operation in years are battling to oust Islamic State. Anyone convicted under the law faces a fine of 10 million to 25 million dinars – roughly $8,000 to $20,000.

This law will put people out of jobs, drug consumption will rise, the economy will be affected

Yonadam Kanna, veteran Christian MP

Alcohol is rarely offered in restaurants and hotels in Iraq, but consumption is relatively widespread, especially in Baghdad where scores of small shops selling alcoholic beverages can be found. But supporters of the ban say it is justified by the constitution, which prohibits any law contradicting Islam. Opponents, however, say the same constitution guarantees the traditions of religious minorities.

The effects of alcohol on society are great, and include depravation, terrorism and social problems

Shia MP Ammar Toma