Chechnya Bans Energy Drinks Because They Are “Un-Islamic”


The health ministry of Russia’s Chechnya region, which is predominately Muslim, announced that it would ban the sale of energy drinks like Red Bull to children under the age of 18.  The move was justified by the health minister’s claim that such drinks were “comparable to beer,” and thus un-Islamic.  The ban would be one restriction among many in a country where alcohol can only be sold during certain hours, restaurants are closed during Ramadan, and women must wear headscarves inside government buildings.

The ban raises questions about how energy drinks should be classified, but also whether Chechnya is imposing too many limitations on its citizens.  Alcohol is difficult to come by in many predominately Muslim countries because of a Qur’anic ban on “intoxication” — which, of course, raises the question of how “intoxication” is defined.  The use of caffeine is restricted or banned by some Christian denominations because it is a drug, although it is both socially acceptable and legal.  In this sense, limiting youths’ access to energy drinks could make sense from a religious perspective.

Chechnya, however, is governed by Ramzan Kadyrov, a “strongman” who is often criticized for silencing dissent and ruling the region with an iron fist. So this new ban may have nothing to do with Islamic theology and everything to do with creating a more autocratic state.  According to Reuters, Chechyan citizens are growing increasingly angry with restrictions that curtail their rights and often contradict the Russian constitution.

“There are just too many restrictions lately. We are building a small Islamic state in Russia that looks like Dubai,” one woman explained.

Last fall, Human Rights Watch denounced restrictions on women’s dress, saying that women who violated the Islamic dress code had been attacked by paintball guns.

In this context, the energy drinks ban seems less defensible.  Perhaps if Islamic officials were really concerned about the intoxicating effects of Red Bull, they could issue a set of recommendations about the drinks.  But this just seems like a larger strategy of intimidation and repression, rather than a legitimate religious issue.

Related Stories:

Energy Drinks and Sports Drinks Not Good for Kids

Photo from Arne Muesler via Wikimedia Commons.

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Sarah M.
Sarah M.4 years ago

Good. Almost all energy drinks are terrible. People who drink them regularly are killing themselves.

Finica Daniel Radu

I would ban it everywhere...because of it's lies ...when you read on it is says some important stuff like...don't drink with alcohol and etc. Does bad to your heart and people died because they drink it like juice.

Jay B.
Jay B.4 years ago

Most high sugar energy drinks should be removed from the market! They are so overloaded with sugar and bad for anybody, especially young people. At the least, there should be prominent health issue warnings on all of them. This niche of the industry cares more about profit at the expense of good health. As long as they get rich, they could care less if it makes you sick.

Faye S.
Faye S.4 years ago

Next they will find something un-Islamic about our toilet paper. At all cost...we must not do anything to insult or question Islamic rules within our cultural society. Soon we will be living in a 'one-size-fits all' that what everybody wants?? Sure sounds like it.

Flannel Disaster
Flannel Disaster4 years ago

"And that's the problem. First they come in and demand to have their way for themselves. Then there's more of them and they demand to have their own way for YOU."

Yeah, kinda like Christians here in the US throughout our entire history, hmm?
Legalized discrimination against non-heterosexuals, hardly any liquor stores open on Sundays, no dildos in Texas until recently, defacing federal currency and the Pledge of Allegiance with Christian rhetoric, laws against atheists being elected to public office.. and it goes on and on and ONNNNnn.

Flannel Disaster
Flannel Disaster4 years ago

Wow, so sad that so many are in support of this.
Parents are the ones who should be banning their kids from such things, if at all, not governments.
You going to ban coffee sales to anyone under 18 as well?
Triple chocolate milkshakes?
Haven't we already seen the massive problems that the age limits for alcohol have created here in the US compared to other countries where children are allowed to drink and simply learn to drink responsibly, or are we still in denial about that?
A majority of kids here drink alcohol primarily because it's illegal for them to do so and have virtually no problem finding ways to do it and most of us cut back on our consumption of it considerably to match more reasonable European tendencies once we're legal to drink and the thrill of the naughty factor is gone.
Kids should just be taught that energy drinks are unhealthy and generally a stupid idea, but that once in awhile if you need to it's ok to drink one, just like coffee and other alternatives.
Banning ANYTHING that effects everyone based on religion, or anything but thorough scientific study is wrong, and even then it's generally unadvisable to ban rather than recommend.

Helen B.
Helen Buchanan4 years ago

FREEDOM TO CHOOSE, that is what parent's are for. change the channel, take away the rated R game, watch what they eat and drink, Stop regulating everything. My parent's had a wonderful word, NO.

Bernadette P.
Berny p.4 years ago

While I agree that energy drinks are probably not good for kids, that is from a health rather than religious standpoint.

Personnally, I think that they are nearly as bad as alcohol especially for kids.

Kristen S.
Kristen H.4 years ago

So much of the food we see in the grocery store is not fit for human (or other animal) consumption. It creates addictions and bad health consequences - consequences that then have to be treated with pharmaceuticals and medical science. It's a huge racket and needs to be stopped... but, as long as it's making money for the megaconglomerates, of course, it will not be.

I'm not in agreement that the religious angle needs to be exploited to address this serious health issue, but if it works...

"And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations..." (Leviticus 10:8-9)

Akin Adelakun
Akin Adelakun4 years ago

Thank you for the info.