(May 18, 2010) On April 30, 2010, the Committee of Foreign Affairs and National Security of the Shura Council (legislature) of Bahrain approved a new provision as an amendment to the Penal Code, Law 15-1976. The new article regulates the use of all kinds of liquor in the Kingdom. It prohibits Muslims from drinking liquor in public places, but allows non-Muslims to consume liquor in places designated for that purpose.
According to the members of the Committee, the new amendment adheres to the provisions of Islamic Sharia'a (law). The Bahraini Supreme Islamic Council has approved the amendment and stated that Islamic law does not prohibit non-Muslims from drinking liquor or impose sanctions against those individuals.
Furthermore, the Council excluded the consumption of liquor in private places from the alcohol consumption rules by amending article 307 of the aforementioned Law to ban the consumption of liquor in public places only. Accordingly, after the amendment, article 307 will read as follows: “It is prohibited in cases other than those authorized by the Minister of Health for the purpose of testing and scientific medical research to import, export, sell, possess, manufacture, [or] offer any kind of liquor in public places and shops.” (The Shura's Foreign Affairs Committee Bans Liquors and Allows It for Non-Muslims in Designated Places خارجية الشورى تحظر الخمر و تبيحه لغير المسلمين في الاماكن المخصصة [in Arabic], AL WAQT, Apr. 30, 2010, available at http://alwaqt.com/art.php?aid=208209.)