KUALA LUMPUR,. Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria has warned authorities against allowing beer festivals, amid the regular annual backlash by Muslims against Oktoberfest events this month.
The mufti told Malay daily Sinar Harian that assisting the consumption of alcohol, such as allowing beer festivals, is just “as sinful” as drinking it.
“The government cannot give permission, that is against the Constitution. They have to understand that. Beer festivals cannot be allowed because the Constitution says that Islam is the religion of the federation,” he was quoted saying.
He had also told non-Muslims to “respect all Islamic codes”, again citing Islam’s position in the Constitution.
Despite Harussani’s assertion, Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution also says that “other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the federation”, and does not mean that non-Muslims are subject to Islamic laws.
Article 3(4) also states that the provision of Islam as the religion of the federation does not derogate from any other provision, such as the freedom of assembly and other civil liberties of citizens.
“[If this permission is given] it’s the same as drinking beer then saying ‘I’m not drinking beer’, because allowing [beer festivals] is subject to same code as drinking.
“When it comes to drinking beer, those who buy, helping to buy or showing where to buy, the sin is the same as drinking. Beer is the biggest of vice,” the mufti was quoted saying.
The report did not indicate if he elaborated on Islamic scriptures or arguments to back his assertion.
Islamists regularly bring up Oktoberfest every year, and previous iterations of the event were banned following complaints.
The new Pakatan Harapan government has removed such restrictions, with authorities now saying such events may proceed so long as they are not ostentatious and remained clearly prohibited to Muslims.