Russia's Muslim south curbs alcohol sales at Ramadan

August 10, 2011 20:17


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NAZRAN, Russia - The head of Russia's mainly Muslim Ingushetia region has set up a body of mullahs and officials to clamp down on black market alcohol sellers during the holy month of Ramadan, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

Officially designed to curb illegal sales, the move appeared to take aim at alcohol consumption in general, much of which is sold underground. Ingush leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov described the new body as a "morality police".

"The group is tasked, during the holy month of Ramadan, with ensuring that retailers and cafes do not sell alcohol without all the proper permits," said Yevkurov's spokesman Khusein Pliyev.

Alcohol licenses are increasingly hard to obtain in the mainly Muslim North Caucasus, where many officials publicly speak out against hard liquor, forcing many merchants to go underground.

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