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Egypt's alcohol bans keep stirring controversy

A ban on alcohol during an Islamic holiday has revived debate over the effectiveness and fairness of government attempts to regulate such spirits.
People shop at a liquor store in the Zamalek district of western Cairo on July 21, 2016
Since the early 2000s, Kouroum of the Nile and Domaine de Gianaclis -- the only two companies that produce wine in Egypt -- have launched an ambitious quest: to revive the country's wine production by importing grape varieties from France, Italy and also Spain -- Merlot, Syrah, Viognier and Vermentino. / AFP / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY TONY GAMAL-GABRIEL        (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHE
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CAIRO — An order to close all Egyptian nightclubs, bars and liquor stores on a recent Islamic holiday reignited public debate about whether such bans are hypocritical, discriminatory and detrimental to tourism.

Ashraf Ezz al-Arab, general director of Egypt's Tourism and Antiquities Police, issued the order May 11, the day before the Night of Mid-Shaaban, a holiday that calls for Muslims to fast. They believe their fortunes for the coming year are determined on that day, and their sins might be forgiven.

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