Saudi Arabia is set to inaugurate its inaugural alcohol establishment in Riyadh, exclusively catering to non-Muslim diplomats, as revealed by an insider and an official document on Wednesday.
Prospective patrons will need to register through a mobile app, secure a clearance code from the foreign ministry, and adhere to monthly purchasing quotas, according to the provided document, Reuters reported.
This development represents a significant stride in Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s initiatives to open the traditionally conservative Muslim nation to tourism and business, acknowledging that alcohol consumption is prohibited in Islam.
The endeavor aligns with the broader Vision 2030 initiative, aiming to diversify the economy beyond reliance on oil.
The forthcoming store will be situated in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter, a district housing embassies and diplomatic residences, explicitly designated for use by non-Muslims, as specified in the document.
It remains uncertain whether other non-Muslim expatriates will be granted access, considering the significant number of Muslim expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia, particularly from Asia and Egypt.
According to an informed source, the store is anticipated to commence operations in the coming weeks. In Saudi Arabia, stringent anti-alcohol laws prescribe severe penalties, including lashes, deportation, fines, or imprisonment.
Recent reforms have shifted towards substituting whipping with jail sentences. Historically, alcohol acquisition was confined to diplomatic channels or the illicit black market.
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