CAIRO - Two years after the Egyptian revolution that ousted an authoritarian regime, liberals are increasingly concerned that the ruling Islamists are out to curb personal freedoms and build a society in their own image.
Alcohol, forbidden to Muslims but enjoyed by some Egyptian Christians and by foreign tourists, is one area where the Islamist authorities are introducing controversial change.
Nabil Abbas, the vice president of the New Urban Communities Authorities (NUCA), said on Sunday that the government would no longer issue licenses for the sale of alcohol in new residential settlements on the outskirts of Cairo, Alexandria and other big cities.
"NUCA has stopped renewing licenses to sell alcohol but the current ones will continue until they expire," Abbas said. "Representatives of the residents in new suburbs complained that the sale of alcohol leads to problems including attacking women and randomly ringing doorbells of people's homes."
Egyptians opposed to the country's Islamist leaders condemned the move as an infringement on personal freedoms.