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Alcohol is Illegal


Partially legal

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Countries Where Alcohol Is Illegal 2024

In the United States, the 1920s represented an era known as Prohibition. During Prohibition, alcohol was all but completely outlawed, but one challenge is that alcohol is complicated to outlaw entirely. Rubbing alcohol is a very effective antiseptic and can prevent infections; alcohol is also the primary ingredient in many hand sanitizers. Many churches use wine instead of grape juice when serving communion, and other religions use alcohol in their rituals.

Today, some countries have outlawed alcohol, in part or as a whole. All of these countries have a majority Muslim population and have governments that adhere to some form of Islamic law, known as Sharia. In Islam, two of the most significant prohibitions are eating pork and drinking alcohol. There are about 14 countries that have outlawed alcohol to some degree.

Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries, has outlawed alcohol to the extent that Yemenis cannot purchase or drink alcohol at all. The two largest cities, Aden and Sana’a, have some large hotels and night clubs in which alcohol can be sold to foreigners visiting. Foreigners can carry small amounts of alcohol but cannot drink it in public.

The United Arab Emirates allows for some sale of alcohol except for in the region of Sharja. In Sharja, non-Muslims can obtain an alcohol license from the government; the license will enable them to possess alcohol, but they cannot drink it in public.

Pakistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Mauritania, Libya, the Maldives, Iran, Kuwait, Brunei, and Bangladesh also have alcohol bans, as do some states in India (India is a Hindu-majority country but has a sizeable Muslim population). However, these bans often come with an asterisk to accommodate non-Muslim citizens and foreigners who may be visiting. Many of these countries allow non-Muslims to consume alcohol in private. However, in war areas such as Somalia and Yemen, possessing any alcohol is strongly discouraged, even if it is legal for non-Muslims.

Shirazi is a popular wine type, and it is named for Shiraz’s city in Iran. Muslims in Iran are not allowed to purchase or consume alcohol, though non-Muslims can buy it under certain conditions. Foreigners who are visiting may bring alcohol with them when departing the country.

As with Prohibition, when the United States attempted to outlaw all alcohol, countries that today have tried to outlaw alcohol have found that there are always caveats.

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Alcohol is Illegal
Additional Details
IndiaPartially legal
Illegal in Gujarat, Nagaland and Bihar.
IndonesiaPartially legal
Illegal in Aceh teritory.
PakistanPartially legal
Illegal for Muslims and in public.
EgyptPartially legal
Illegal in public places and during Ramadan.
IranPartially legal
Home production legal for Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians.
United KingdomPartially legal
In Scotland, alcohol cannot be sold in stores after 10pm.
SudanPartially legal
Legal for non-Muslims in private.
IraqPartially legal
Banned by parliament, but rarely enforced.
AlgeriaPartially legal
Illegal in public, legal in hotels, restaurants, bars and homes.
MoroccoPartially legal
Alcohol must be purchased and consumed in licensed hotels, bars, and tourist area, or in major super...
MalaysiaPartially legal
Public drinking illegal in Kelantan and Terengganu.
ChilePartially legal
Illegal in public.
TunisiaPartially legal
Alcohol sales are banned on Fridays and during Ramadan.
IsraelPartially legal
Selling in stores between 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. is illegal; serving at bars, restaurants and clubs alway...
TurkmenistanPartially legal
Illegal on trains, airplanes, and ferries and in sports facilities. Sales are banned on weekends and...
NorwayPartially legal
Illegal in public, except at bars and restaurants. Alcohol is only sold in stores within a certain t...
PalestinePartially legal
Illegal in Gaza, legal in West Bank
OmanPartially legal
Legal for non-Muslim foreigners at restaurants, hotels and bars; at home with a licence. Illegal in ...
QatarPartially legal
Legal for tourists at hotels and bars.
ComorosPartially legal
Illegal for Muslims during Ramadan.
Saudi ArabiaIllegal
United Arab EmiratesIllegal
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Which countries do not allow alcohol?

Several countries have deemed alcohol illegal, including Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

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