Coffee, gender, tobacco, and the Bedouin tent (article)
Benjamin A. Saidel, "Coffee, Gender, and Tobacco: Observations on the History of the Bedouin Tent," Anthropos 104/1 (2009): 179-186.
Saudi hotel owner dries up Cairo bar
A Saudi businessman who owns the Grand Hyatt hotel in Cairo has taken alcohol off the menu. The hotel bar now serves coffee to its very few customers. The only place in the luxury hotel that still serves alcoholic drink is the separately owned Hard Rock cafe. Ordinarily in Cairo tourist-oriented hotels feature drinks bars for foreigners and some Egyptians, so the decision to close a bar to sales of alcohol and destroy its stock of an estimated million dollars worth of high-end booze has been controversial. For more, see here.
Although the Koran does not explicitly prohibit smoking, many Muslims have begun to object to it. A recent news report says that the holy cities of Mecca and Medina do not allow smoking. (Other accounts say that smoking is prohibited only near the mosque and schools.) Smoking is not allowed during the Ramadan fast. Yet despite its small population Saudi Arabia is the world's 23rd leading consumer of cigarettes. Nearly a quarter of all Saudis smoke including about 600,000 women. For more, see a report by a Russian news service here. About the silence of the Koran and in early pious traditions re tobacco smoking, Islamic scholars point out that the Prophet knew nothing about cigarettes and other tobacco products. Tobacco was a New World drug at that time unknown in the Old World.
Ramadan offers perfect time to quit smoking
Arab News reports that "Ramadan Without Tobacco" — an exhibition sponsored by Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health opened on Monday as part of a national campaign against smoking.
A similar quit smoking campaign was launched in conjunction with Ramadan in the United Arab Emirates. The Khaleej Times reports.
Pour me a glass of your finest eau de toilette
The Khaleej Times reports that as many as 20 people died after drinking poisoned cologne in the cities of Mecca, Taif, Medina and Riyadh, the Saudi newspaper Okaz reported on Wednesday. The paper said 40 other people were also admitted to hospital, some in critical condition.
The authorities carried out inspections to find the poisoned cologne, as large quantities of it have already been sold. The poisoned cologne can inflict a wide range of damage, including migraines, nausea, vomiting, severe stomach and back pains and infection of the pancreas. It also causes malfunctions in the nervous and respiratory systems, the paper said.
Saudi Arabia, which applies a strict interpretation of Islamic law, bans alcohol. Some people drink cologne in the kingdom as a substitute for alcohol.
Saudi ambassador serves alcohol
The Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in Ankara, El Husseini broke with the Islamic laws of his country and served his guests alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic drinks were served at a welcome dinner held by El Husseini and his wife (who does not wear a headscarf), for the new arrival of the ambassadors of Yemen, Qatar, Algeria and Palestine in Ankara. In yet another break with the Saudi Islamic tradition, men and women sat and dined together.
A brief opinion piece on Saudi women smokers can be found in Arab News here.
Illegal alcohol production on the rise in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's Asharq Alawsat News reports (16 Sept 2005) that recent reports in the local media giving details of raids on illegal wine factories across the kingdom have caused controversy and shocked conservative Saudi society where alcohol is banned. A number of government departments took part in the crackdown, including the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, with others providing general assistance. Find the full story here.
Starbucks Brewing Saudization Ideas
Arab News reports (3 April 2005) that Starbucks has launched a "Saudization" program - a new initiative that will identify, attract and develop ambitious Saudis with the potential to fast-track their careers. A core part of the initiative will be an acceleration program for outstanding Saudis, following some recent successful trials that have led them to higher management positions. Find the full story here.
Alcohol and Muslims
An essay, entitled "Alcohol and Muslims," originally published in the Islamic Journal (December 1995), can be found here.