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Saudi poll on legalising alcohol blasted as a 'cyber crime' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Saudi poll on legalising alcohol blasted as a 'cyber crime'

One third of voters seem to be open to the idea [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 June, 2020

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The Twitter-vote has received nearly 16,000 comments, many of which characterise the proposal as an affront to public decency.
An online opinion poll on legalising alcohol sales in Saudi Arabia's international airports has provoked uproar among Twitter users in the ultraconservative kingdom, with one prominent lawyer calling it an act of "cyber crime".

The Twitter handle @p_referendum stirred outrage after posing the controversial question on alcohol in Saudi Arabia - home of the two holiest sites in Islam - to its 171,500 followers on Sunday.

"What is your opinion on allowing alcohol sales in deregulated outlets at the kingdom's international airports?"

With four days left until the poll closes, nearly two thirds of votes rejected the idea outright, while one third welcomed it.

The Twitter-vote has received nearly 16,000 comments, many of which characterise the proposal as an affront to public decency and the kingdom's role as custodian of Islam's two holiest sites in Mecca and Medina.

Islam prohibits the sale and consumption of alcohol.

"I seek refuge in Allah (God) if this happens, it will be the beginning of moral decline and the beginning of the end. Morally upstanding nations will cease to exist," one user wrote.


"These are religious matters and they have their rulings. There is no need for a poll on the matter," wrote another.


A prominent Saudi lawyer weighed in on the matter and called for legal action against the account.

"Those who run this account must be brought before the law and the public prosecutor needs to get involved. This Tweet is a form of cyber crime."


Drinking alcohol in Saudi Arabia carries severe legal consequences, including public flogging, lengthy imprisonment and in some cases, deportation.

Foreigners are reportedly able to procure locally brewed black-market liquor – particularly on Western company compounds.

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