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Iraq’s clampdown on smoking and drinking delights Muslim fundies

THIS summer saw Iraq ban smoking in public buildings in a bid to cut down on the number of smoking related deaths in the country. According to the Economist, smoking kills an average of 55 Iraqis a day, while only ten a day die as a result of terrorist shootings of bombings.

An Iraqi smoker

An Iraqi smoker

Fag-hating Islamists are said to be delighted with the move, but would like to see an outright ban in tobacco. They are also pleased that the sale of alcohol has been banned by city councillors in Basra – but some regard the ban as an attack on the city’s Christian population.

Said Saher Yussef, a 40-year-old engineer:

Lawless people will use this decision to harm us because some Christians will refuse to close their shops, which are their only livelihoods.

According to this report, the Basra provincial council passed a decree stating that “anyone selling liquor, drinking in public, making or importing alcohol in Basra” would be fined five million dinars (4,270 dollars).

Basra’s deputy governor Ahmad al-Sulaiti said:

Our decision is based on the constitution, which bans anything that violates the principles of Islam. The constitution stipulates that ‘Islam is the state religion and the fundamental source of legislation’.

But  elsewhere in Iraq, including in the capital Baghdad, the sale and consumption of alcohol is authorised.

In fact on the eve of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, when liquor stores are usually shuttered and the sale of alcohol is prohibited, many people rushed to buy their stash of alcoholic drinks

Two days after the Basra authorities voted for the ban, officials destroyed one of the dozens of liquor shops there – a warning of things to come if the ban was not heeded.

Said George Nasser George, a 58-year-old labourer:

This decision is the work of some religious factions who are dangerous for the Christians.

Many people remember the chaos that erupted across Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. Islamist militants held sway over the streets of Basra and the province of the same name.

Over a two-year period, more than 100 liquor shops were destroyed and dozens of Christians killed by Islamist militias, forcing half the 5,000-strong Christian community to pack and up flee, many to the autonomous Kurdish north.

Basra’s sole Christian councillor Saad Butros said the authorities should have focused on resolutions addressing security and infrastructure problems rather than on the alcohol ban.

The majority of Shiite parties who control Basra want to impose their religious ideas, rather than take decisions that serve the interests of the (whole) population.  Banning alcohol will not bring security, nor will it produce essential services that are lacking in the province.

People don’t care about who drinks and who doesn’t. They are concerned about (the development of) investment projects and the removing of rubbish from the streets.

The ban, meanwhile, has sent the price of liquor skyrocketing, and upset clients, shop owners said.

Said Mazen Mustafa:

A bottle of arak (an anise-flavoured drink) that sold for 10,000 dinars (nine dollars) now fetches 25,000 dinars (21 dollars). With the police on the lookout to enforce the ban, I am forced to sell booze from home.

The smoking ban has done nothing to improve the already low opinion many Iraqis have of their democratically elected government.

Said a cynical university student:

Prisons are public buildings, right? So will they now prevent guards from stubbing out cigarettes on the arms, legs and backs of inmates?

And this, from Abu Yasser, as he takes a drag while filling up his car at a petrol station:

My cousin was recently murdered by terrorists, my neighbour was tortured by the police, my electricity is cut for most of the day, the same is true in most hospitals in the city. And they are worried about smoking?

20 responses to “Iraq’s clampdown on smoking and drinking delights Muslim fundies”

  1. barriejohn says:

    "Fag-hating Islamists", Barry? Shurely shome mishtake!

  2. ZombieHunter says:

    smoking bans and restrictions on booze for the good of the masses, along with secterian violence Iraq really is starting to be more like scotland.

  3. Buffy says:

    Of course the Christians are rending their garments about how "persecuted" they are there but they'd like very much to institute the same sort of government here. Short of that they continually preach how the US Constitution and laws are "based on Judeo-Christian values" and the rest of us should kowtow to them and their fairy tales as a result. Screw people who aren't Christian, LGBT people who want to be treated like human beings, etc. The Xians rule the roost so you can all just suffer.

  4. Stoneyground says:

    Closer to home it appears that the Scottish Parliament has passed a law mandating that drink prices in pubs remain the same over a seventy two hour period. The purpose of this is to prevent happy hour drinks promotions. Pub landlords have responded with "Seventy two hours? – happy three days it is then". Those of us who are fed up with being constantly nagged about our eating, drinking, smoking, weight and lack of exercise by the bunch of loathsome self righteous goons that make up our government can perhaps glean some crumbs of comfort from the fact that there are places like Iraq that are worse.

    Further to Buffy's post, wasn't it to escape persecution in Europe that many of the first Christians came to America? No sooner had they settled there than they started persecuting the natives, Quakers and each other. It seems pretty likely that this behaviour had some influence on the founders when they worded the constitution but not in the way that modern Christians would like us to believe.

  5. remigius says:

    "…from Abu Yasser, as he takes a drag while filling up his car at a petrol station."

    I somehow don't think Abu will live long enough to die of lung cancer.

    "The majority of Shiite parties…"

    If you ban beer then you're gonna have shiite parties!

  6. barriejohn says:

    That's another "myth", Stoneyground! They weren't "fleeing persecution": they just wanted to do exactly what they are trying to do in the US today, ie set up a society where they can force everyone to live according to their own restrictive, antiquated rules and then cry "persecution" when anyone objects to this. The founding fathers were well aware of the dangers of that sort of thing taking hold in their "land of liberty", but the Christians, as we have seen, are doing their level best to rewrite history!

    BTW I made a comment shortly after this item appeared about "Fag-hating Muslims", but it has disappeared yet again! Maybe Barry is another of those guys who likes to make fun of the views of others, but doesn't like his own comments being held up to ridicule!! (Only joking, Barry – I know that's not true!!!)

  7. remigius says:

    And talking of posts disappearing has Postman Pat been pinching my mail again or has Barry merely forgot to write this months issue!

  8. remigius says:

    And talking of posts disappearing has Postman Pat been pinching my mail again or has Barry merely forgotten to write this months issue!

  9. barriejohn says:

    I've received mine – though it looked as if the postman had put it in his washing machine and then given it a spin to get it dry, as per usual – but don't forget that there have been postal strikes in various areas of the UK.

  10. remigius says:

    Okay bj. You got your copy of the September issue, but I certainly didn't get mine. And it looks like Barry didn't get his either cos he normally changes to the latest edition on the masthead.

    I'll be down in Bournemouth at the weekend, I don't 'spose you'd wanna lend me a copy?

  11. barriejohn says:

    "Talking of posts disappearing", I had a riposte ready for your comment regarding my appearing in female attire, but THAT seems to have disappeared as well! Suffice to say it has been known – more details to follow!!

  12. remigius says:

    Please, please promise us you won't be posting a link to a picture of you, as a sprog, in your mum's knitted bikini.

  13. Buffy says:

    The original Pilgrims did indeed come here to get away from the Church of England, because they no longer wanted to be told how to worship. But they then turned right around and became religious fascists themselves. It's wonderful that the Founding Fathers weren't cut from the same cloth as they, or we would actually be a theocracy. Sadly the RRRW here thinks the FF were the same as the Pilgrims/Puritans. That's where we get all that "Amurka is a Christian Nation" crap from.

  14. CybrgnX says:

    'The original Pilgrims did indeed come here to get away from the Church of England, because they no longer wanted to be told how to worship.' is not accurate as they left England because the others told them to piss off because they weren't going to put up with the pilgrims tell everyone else how to live. They went to Holland and got told the same thing there and went back to England to come here where able for some time to tell everyone around how to live.
    Wow! that sound just like the damn Islamics moving in all over and trying to tell everyone else to change to accommodate them and use Sherri law . Sorry-but just as I like to tell Xtians – Piss off.
    Because you eventually get the article above…No gays-no sex-no bad habits…..I'm sick to death of these religious assholes telling me what to do and trying to protect me from myself. I love how these 'tolerant' religions who deal in hate and fear of everything try to force all others to live their way which even they don't do.

  15. barriejohn says:

    My comment has reappeared!!!

  16. barriejohn says:

    You're right, Buffy, but although I do believe in freedom of worship of course, I also think that they brought some of their problems upon themselves. Other Protestants found it possible to worship the Anglican way, even if they did have to bite their tongues at times. After all, there were no real doctrinal differences, merely disagreements over church governance and the order of service. Burnings and executions were largely a thing of the past, and the Catholics had a much harder time of it. I actually consorted with a group with similar views to theirs, and they played the "victim" all the time, just as Stephen Green and others do in England to this day (and Carrie Prejean and her pals in the US, of course!). Many of my friends would refuse to attend a "place of worship", even when their own children married "outside the faith", and refused to take part in any prayers led by a "man of the cloth". They always referred, de rigeur, to Sunday as "The Lord's Day", and I have known some who referred to churches in the Puritan manner as "the large building with the spire"!

  17. barriejohn says:

    The Founding Fathers were obviously aware of what kind of people the Puritans were, and what dangers religious fundamentalism might present to the fledgling nation. They would also have been aware of the virtual "Reign of Terror" inaugurated by John Calvin in Europe, and been determined to ensure that that was never possible under the American Constitution. My admiration for them grows the more I learn about them!

  18. Ashmead says:

    You're right, Buffy, but although I do believe in freedom of worship of course, I also think that they brought some of their problems upon themselves. Other Protestants found it possible to worship the Anglican way, even if they did have to bite their tongues at times. After all, there were no real doctrinal differences, merely disagreements over church governance and the order of service. Burnings and executions were largely a thing of the past, and the Catholics had a much harder time of it. I actually consorted with a group with similar views to theirs, and they played the "victim" all the time, just as Stephen Green and others do in England to this day (and Carrie Prejean and her pals in the US, of course!). Many of my friends would refuse to attend a "place of worship", even when their own children married "outside the faith", and refused to take part in any prayers led by a "man of the cloth". They always referred, <i>de rigeur</i>, to Sunday as "The Lord's Day", and I have known some who referred to churches in the Puritan manner as "the large building with the spire"! …

  19. barriejohn says:

    They were not strictly being "persecuted", as the Established Church was now Protestant under King James. However, they were not allowed freedom of worship, and if they did not attend Church of England services they were fined. A couple of Puritans had indeed been executed earlier for conducting unofficial services, but then you have to remember that this was the time of the Gunpowder Plot, and the Spanish Armada was still fresh in the collective consciousness, so a degree of paranoia about this sort of activity was understandable! As I remarked above, others were able to live with the situation, but not the Separatists!!

  20. GNG says:

    Spot on as usual remigius