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Friday, May 24, 2024

Social media reacts to first alcohol store in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, drinking alcohol is punishable by hundreds of lashes, deportation, fines, or imprisonment.

The opening of the first alcohol store in Saudi Arabia triggered a social media debate. The Kingdom is receiving criticism and support over the opening of the alcohol store.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is preparing to open its first alcohol store in the capital city of Riyadh, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The store will serve exclusively non-Muslim diplomats. To access liquor, customers will have to register via a mobile app, get a clearance code from the foreign ministry, and respect monthly quotas with their purchases.

The decision has triggered a decision about whether Saudi Arabia is transcending Islamic norms and principles. Consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Islam. Others argue that it is the right of Saudi Arabia to modernize its society as this will be crucial in attracting visitors from America and European countries.

In Saudi Arabia, drinking alcohol is punishable by hundreds of lashes, deportation, fines, or imprisonment.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who assumed power in June 2017, has been making efforts to open the conservative Kingdom for tourism and business.

An X user, while providing a possible explanation of the decision said: “Non-Muslim diplomats could already import alcoholic products until recently. The Saudi gov. put on ban on alcohol imports for diplomats because they had started smuggling in via Bahrain.
Now it will be available for them, but they will have to pay. End of black market.”



Others viewing the decision in terms of Islamic principles condemned Saudi Arabia for drifting away from religious values. With the presence of two major Holy sites, Saudi Arabia is revered at the center point in the religion of Islam.


Saudi Arabia, which was relatively closed off for decades, has in recent years relaxed strict social codes, such as segregating men and women in public places and requiring women to wear all-covering black robes, or abayas.

In December 2017, Saudi Arabia lifted a 35-year ban on commercial theaters. In that same year, the Kingdom also ended a ban on women drivers, allowed women to attend sporting events, and expand their participation in the workforce.