A Christian shop owner said to be serving alcohol was shot dead in Iraq’s southern city of Basra, days after the country’s parliament passed a law prohibiting the commodity deemed “un-Islamic”.

Nizar Elias Musa, 47, was shot in the neck late on Tuesday (25 Oct.) by two unidentified gunmen riding a motorcycle in the centre of Basra.

According to Iraqi reports, Musa, originally from the Syriac Christian town of Qaraqosh in the north, owned a restaurant and an alcohol shop.

On 22 October, the Iraqi parliament passed a law prohibiting all sale, import or making of alcohol.

Basra is part of Iraq’s Shia heartland. Christians have fared marginally better in those areas than in Arab Sunni regions to the middle and north. Still, the build-up of pressure to conform to an all-pervasive Muslim culture has nearly emptied those areas of their native Christians.

In 2007, a Christian man was killed in Basra after he was accused of selling alcohol. Long before the trade became officially outlawed, “religious gangs” had threatened alcohol businesses, Ankawa Christian news agency said.