Iraq’s Parliament on 22 October 2016 passed a law banning the sale, import and production of alcohol in the country.
The law imposes a fine of up to 25 million Iraqi dinars for anyone violating the ban. However, the law can be struck down by the supreme court of Iraq.
This Iraqi law is unlikely to be enforced in the largely autonomous Kurdish region, which is home to a sizeable Christian community. The ban came as a shock for the Christians who are earning through the liquor shops.
As per Iraq's Christian lawmaker Joseph Slaiwa, the ban was slipped into a draft law regulating the income of municipal authorities without lawmakers being notified. Moreover, it violates the constitution which guarantees the traditions of religious minorities such as Christians.
The original article only called for imposing taxes on liquor stores and restaurants serving liquor.
The bill was proposed by Mahmoud al-Hassan, a judge and lawmaker from the State of Law coalition, the largest bloc in Iraq's Parliament. He insisted that it was in keeping with Article 2 of the Iraq's constitution which prohibits any legislation that goes against Islam.
Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol, but it has always been available in Iraq’s larger cities, mainly from the shops run by Christians. Those shops were currently closed because of the Shia holy month of Muharram.
Iraq’s parliament is dominated by Shia Islamist parties.