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Journalist Angry Because she was Denied Alcohol during Ramadan

Annahar's Hiyam al-Kosayfi
Photo Credits: Youtube/AnnaharTV
MIND SOUP: Journalist for the Lebanese daily Annahar, Hiyam al-Kosayfi, expressed her anger about being denied wine in a hotel restaurant in Down Town Beirut during Ramadan.

This hotel which was "founded by a Maronite Christian and blessed with sacred water by a priest" has made it a policy not to serve any form of alcoholic beverages during the month of Ramadan, where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset on food, drinks, and sex, and usually abide strictly to Islamic Law during this month.

According to al-Kosayfi, she said the that waiter recommended a good bottle of wine, but then embarrassingly apologized and took back the wine glasses from the table after realizing the policy.

The (Christian) writer and her crew made a fuss about this incident until a manager approached them and offered to serve them wine in blue tinted glasses, as not to alarm the Muslim customers who were having breakfast (iftar) there. She proudly announces that they refused the offer, and declared that their desires should be respected because she "is in a country called Lebanon and not in an Islamic estate."

The journalist and her group left the hotel after that without having dinner. She ended her article by asking if the "religious police" has emerged to Lebanon and Beirut's Down Town area which she called a Lebanon's "civilized front"?

Of course, the hotel's management is clearly looking after its own back. During the summer season, and Ramadan in particular, most of the tourists who bring the institution its profit come from the (Muslim) gulf areas.

Most of these tourists strictly abide by the Islamic law and Teaching's of the Qur'an. The law (which applies to both Sunni and Shiites) states that "a Muslim should not drink or hold or keep in reserve an alcoholic drink or sit at the same majlis where a drink is being served," and is considered to be Damned by God if he/she does.

The restaurant probably does not care about the beliefs or even aforementioned “religious police”. They care about making profit from the rich tourists who are usually big-tippers and very influential, meaning that they do recommend places to their rich friends. The restaurant can afford to lose a few Christian customers, but they cannot bare to lose loaded rich tourists during the season in which they can generate the most profit.

Moreover, the journalist claims that not being served wine breaches the rules of "mutual living" (العيش المشترك) between the Muslims and Christians in Lebanon. Personally, I believe its the other way round. Not accepting the "under-the-table" offer of wine in tinted glasses breaches the "mutual living" concept. This concept does not entitle a party to act freely and keep poking people from other religions in the eye. Its about compromise, not stubbornness.

Would it have killed them to use the tinted glasses (and get the free wine bottle which was offered to them)? NO.
Would it have killed them not to make a scene and have a pleasant meal? NO.

But the Lebanese mentality is always the superior "I don't compromise" mentality. This stupid arrogant mentality is going to keep Lebanon sinking in the hole of sectarianism.

If this is the way the older generation will keep acting (and I am referring to Muslims and Christians alike), the new generation will only be worse, filled with ideas of superiority and sectarianism.

For God's (who is common between both religions) sake, stop being so arrogant and superior. AND LEARN HOW TO COMPROMISE!

You can find the mentioned article in Arabic here (Lebanese Forces website). I couldn't find the original Annahar link.


  1. I'm confused. Why are Muslim hotel guests having breakfast during Ramadan? Doesn't that make them non-practicing Muslims and thus wouldn't care who is drinking what?

  2. I have to say that i kinda agree with her. i don't agree on her actions and reactions, and writing a story in the newspaper about, but i agree that she had the right to have a glass of wine.

    I'm pretty sure the Muslim visitors/tourists wouldn't want to impose eating and drinking behaviour on others. If i'm fasting, i wouldn't want my friend to stop eating.

    I know that ur talking about common courtesy, and that the reporter should be more understanding. But at a restaurant, ur paying to be served, fed, and to have a good time. If the management wants to stop serving alcohol, then they should declare it on the menu, or tell customers as they walk in so they are not surprised.

    There's nothing worst than going to a restaurant, order something on the menu, then to be told that they don't make it!

  3. @Jad, breakfast refers to iftar. If you see the root of the word, it clearly says break fast, hence it can be used accordingly.

    @Simon, I do agree with you about what you said. However, her man complaint wasn't that the restaurant didn't tell her beforehand that they were not serving alcohol (she just used it to support her argument).

    The main point of her article was the she wants to act freely regardless of the people around her. Of course she is entitled for her wine, but as you said it is a matter of common courtesy. She could have had the wine in the tinted glasses, but no. Her pride is too big for common courtesy.

    But as everyone agrees that they want a country with mutual living, this common courtesy (ie compromise) should be present. Her article will only spark religious conflicts, and we know how silly things might get blown up off proportion (exhibit A: parking lot incident kills 3 people).

    I'm not saying that she should stop drinking alcohol because she lives in a country with Muslims, but with all the hoo-haa about mutual living (and she's a journalist for a pro-14 newspaper), it is not necessary to start a spark near the gasoline, don't you think?

  4. well when in rome do as the romans do... or risk getting thrown to the lions. a little Ramadan does Christians good too.

  5. I think she should have just drank the wine in the tinted glasses and not made such a huge deal about it. The only thing she has done was make herself look bad and bigoted.

  6. oh bullshit, the gulf people shouldn't be drinking any alcohol ever and they come here and get piss ass drunk. A lady wants a glass of wine and can't get one because it's ramadan??
    Have your iftar at home if a stupid drink offends you, sheesh!

    @Sean Dunning "When in Rome do as the Romans do", you're in Lebanon and you can have a drink, it's not a muslim country where alcohol is banned.

  7. @Aline C, its really not up to you! When you open your own hotel and restaurant, make the decisions that you please.


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