Iraq's parliament voted to ban the sale, import and production of alcohol on Saturday, in an unexpected move likely to appease influential religious parties while upsetting various minorities.
Those in favor of the ban believe it is justified by the constitution, which prohibits any law contradicting Islam; while opponents claim it violates the constitution's protection of the traditions of religious minorities.
"A law was passed today and article 14 of that law bans the import, production and sale of all kinds of alcohol," Yonadam Kanna, a veteran Christian MP, told AFP on Saturday.
"Every violation of this law incurs a fine of 10 million to 25 million dinars (roughly $8,000 to $20,000)," he said.
Kanna intends to appeal the law in a federal court.
Alcohol is not commonly offered in Iraq's hotels or restaurants, but consumption is relatively widespread, particularly in Baghdad where alcoholic beverages are sold in small shops and markets.
Various companies also operate in Iraq to produce alcoholic beveragessuch as Farida beer or Asriya arak (a regional anise-flavoured spirit).
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