Earlier today, it was widely reported that Dubai was cracking down on enforcement of a 2003 law that forbids alcohol to be used in cooking. Alcohol is available at restaurants and clubs in Dubai, and the rule against using it in food had been mostly ignored until recent complaints that devout Muslims might ingest alcohol in food without realizing it.
But now Arabian Business is reporting that it was all a strange misunderstanding: Khalid Sharif al Awadhi, the director of the food control department is quoted as saying that chefs “misinterpreted a circular sent to them last week,” and that there would be no ban on alcohol. Any dish containing booze, like, say, coq au vin, must simply be labeled as such. This is odd, though, because the newspaper had seen a copy of the circular, and it clearly stated that alcohol in food would be banned, and subject to a fine over $1,000.
Meanwhile, the hullabaloo has gotten commenters on both sides of the issue riled up.
Amna Al Haddad has this to say:
What is this? We live in a Muslim country, and alcohol is obviously forbidden to us Muslims for obvious reasons. But to know that alcohol has been served in food at hotels? That’s just shocking. That’s the type of thing you worry about in a foreign country and ask to have your meal without alcohol, but here in the UAE? Something is definitely wrong.
While Lamya Saeed disagrees:
I feel nowadays every resident lives in a deep fear of unintentionally doing the wrong thing.
We seriously need to look deep into the true sense of the word “Islamic values” and “culture”, which encompasses basic virtues like honesty, empathy, satisfaction…unmaterialistic intentions.