Islam and Alcohol

Although Turkey is a Muslim country, the national drink is alcoholic.  It's called raki and is licorice-flavored.  From what I have seen, pretty much everyone here drinks alcohol.  This may not be true in the countryside or in the more religious areas of cities, but at least in Istanbul there does not appear to be any sort of stigma against it.  In fact, one friend of mine worked at a university which was so committed to being secular that at staff parties the dean would walk around checking people's glasses to ensure that everyone was drinking alcohol.  This led to the bizarre situation where some staff members would pretend to drink mixed drinks while actually drinking straight cherry juice.  However, Islam does appear to have a moderating influence on alcohol consumption.  While people drink, it is rarely to excess, and alcoholism is definitely frowned upon.  The laws are also very strict about drinking and driving. In Istanbul, there are frequent alcohol checkpoints at night, and if you are caught drinking and driving, even once, they take away your license for a year.