Attacks on liquor stores in Iraq, for religious reasons but not only

Baghdad (AFP) - The attacks on the few liquor stores in Baghdad have increased recently, causing their owners to fear a comeback by radical Muslims, but the reason for the religion given for the attacks may not be the only.

If restaurants and hotels rarely offer alcohol in Iraq, its consumption is relatively widespread, especially in the capital where there are specialized shops.

In the past two months, at least 14 of them have suffered nighttime bomb attacks, three of which occurred simultaneously on Monday evening in different neighborhoods.

Most of the shops are owned by people from the Christian and Yazidi minorities who have decades of licenses to sell alcohol, in a largely conservative and predominantly Muslim Iraq.

André's store was set on fire a few weeks ago by two people on a motorbike, according to CCTV footage.

While his brother puts bottles of whiskey on refurbished shelves, this Christian says he spent thousands of dollars to repair and restock his shop.

"These groups want the last Christians to leave the country," says André, as hundreds of thousands of Christians have left Iraq since 2003 - the year of the American invasion - mainly because of community violence and the offensive of the jihadist group Islamic State.

- Kill the "liberal" spirit -

The trader also blames the security forces, indicating that a police patrol stationed near the store had been absent for several hours, offering thieves the opportunity to act.

"Why does the government not stop them?", He wonders, exasperated, adding to have provided the authorities with the registration number of the vehicle.

Posted Date: 2021-01-01

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