Jordanian MP proposes alcohol ban and clampdown on breweries in the country

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

A Jordanian MP has proposed a ban on alcohol consumption and production in the country. ©Getty Images
A Jordanian MP has proposed a ban on alcohol consumption and production in the country. ©Getty Images

Related tags Alcohol ban spirits Beer Wine

Jordanian Member of Parliament Ahmad al-Raqab has suggested that the government ban alcohol in Jordan.

The MP argued that “alcohol is forbidden in Islam”​ and thus, allowing breweries to make alcohol in Jordan was against their religion, local media Roya News reported.

He also demanded that the cabinet answer a series of questions relating to the sale of alcohol, such as 1) the number of liquor stores, hotels, and restaurants that are licensed to sell alcohol, 2) the authority in charge of licensing, and 3) the conditions needed to gain a license.

At present, the sale of alcohol is permitted in independent bars, restaurants, hotels, and liquor stores. The legal minimum age for drinking is 18, and an identity card must be shown when ordering or purchasing alcohol.

As of 2010, spirits were the most consumed type of alcohol (75%) in Jordan, followed by beer (23%), wine (2%), and others (1%), data​ from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shown.

Cases of alcohol ban

While alcohol is currently allowed to be produced, sold and consumed in Jordan, certain alcoholic drinks have been banned in the country due to religious concerns.

Last year, Jordanian customs banned a shipment from Palestine of the alcoholic spirit Arak, as it was branded as 'Ramallah', which consists of the term 'Allah' — the name of God, according to Muslims. 

'Ramallah' actually refers to a city in the occupied West Bank.

The spirit was banned after the General Ifta Islamic department stated that the brand name offended the holy name of God.

Regional alcohol ban

Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia are some of the Middle East countries that have implemented an alcohol ban.

Nonetheless, cases of illegal alcohol consumption are widespread in certain places, and there have been incidences of people dying from drinking smuggled alcohol.

For instance, a poisonous batch of bootleg alcohol killed at least 42 people in Iran earlier this month, according to the country’s Health Ministry spokesman Iraj Harirchi. At least 16 went blind and 170 others had to undergo dialysis. In total, 460 people were hospitalised.

The local police then raided an underground distillery suspected of producing the poisonous drink and arrested 31 people.

The source of poison remains unknown. In the past, Iranian authorities had pointed to high levels of methanol as the source of contamination.

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