Will an F1 race mark the end of Saudi Arabia’s ban on alcohol?

The podium celebration will be under heavy scrutiny

12/4/2021 11:00:00 PM

Prince Muhammad’s advisers want him to enlist liberal clerics to help explain to Saudis why alcohol, once haram (forbidden), may soon be halal (permitted)

The podium celebration will be under heavy scrutiny

F1) made a change: instead of celebrating after a race by spraying each other with champagne, they switched to sparkling wine. Not to be frugal—F1 is not that kind of sport—but because of a new sponsorship deal. Officials in Saudi Arabia face a harder decision. The kingdom, which will host a race on December 5th, bans alcohol. Some, though, think it may loosen up for the event. “Champagne is part of the ceremony,” says a royal adviser. “Jeddah [the host city] will have seen nothing like it.”

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Saudi-watchers predict boozy parties on yachts and, perhaps, at select venues on land. That would be in keeping with the reforms of Muhammad bin Salman, the crown prince, who has ignored puritanical clerics and curbed the morality police, while breaking taboos by opening up cinemas and letting women drive. Concerts were largely prohibited not long ago; now female

DJs jive in public. TheF1 race could mark the lifting of the alcohol ban, says a senior official.The kingdom is reconsidering alcohol as it tries to lure tourists away from destinations like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has long allowed foreigners to partake and legalised drinking for everyone last year. Prince Muhammad has invested in cruise ships that serve alcohol offshore and carved out vast royal preserves with their own (non-Islamic) bylaws. He hosts a Red Sea festival where spirits flow. Luxury hotels are going up on the coast and near tourist sites inland. A launch party for one in October featured illicit sangría laced with whisky (which deserves to be banned for bad taste alone) and a rave on the sand. headtopics.com

Some of Prince Muhammad’s advisers want him to enlist liberal clerics to help explain to Saudis why what was onceharam(forbidden) may soon behalal(permitted). “The sin [of drinking wine] is greater than the benefit,” says the Koran rather mildly. It does not prescribe a punishment for the act, though Saudi judges have been known to sentence offenders to 80 or more lashes. For centuries the early caliphs hosted parties with alcohol and let jurists argue over whether Islam banned all booze or just that from fermented grapes.

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“We’re opening our country up to the world,” says Khalid al-Faisal, a royal overseeing the race in Jeddah. Still, there are reasons to think that the podium, at least, will be dry. Bahrain, Qatar and theUAEhave all hosted car races—and used blander fizzy drinks, such as sparkling rose water, on the winner’s stand. Years ago an

F1 team sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s state airline celebrated (in public) with orange juice. It got their clothes just as wet as champagne would have done.

Read more: The Economist »

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Why it's necessary to do things not allowed in Islam just to please the west. If allowed , Saudi Arabia will loose it's face as the custodian of the two most sacred sites of Islam , which will not be acceptable to Muslims around the globe. They murder apostates, gays, dissidents... western organizations that operate in or with Saudi Arabia are complicit. Disgusting.

jOuRnaLiSm 🤷🏻‍♂️ Who in their right mind would chose Saudi over the U.A.E.? Not even the Saudis. Fuck to alcohol and formula No dilemma at all. Rosewater will be used as in Bahrain If the ONE thing Saudiarabia adopts from the West is alcohol norms I'm gonna be pissed... Yeter bi düşün milletin yakasından. Sarhoşluk verici maddeler haramdır nokta.

He's finally figured out what other dictators worked out centuries ago: a pissed population doesn't revolt. Very sad this race is happening 😢 🤣

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I flipping hope so, may even go there then for business! 😁

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