Muslims must stop opposing Oktoberfest and other non-Muslim events

(Focus Malaysia) – THERE must be a line drawn between respecting cultural events of non-Muslims and politicising them on religious grounds.

Such is the feedback from Raub MP Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji who has urged Religious Affairs Minister Datuk Idris Ahmad to stop issuing statements that infringe on the freedom of non-Muslims in conducting their cultural and business activities.

Reacting to Idris’ call to forbid the staging of drinking festival Oktoberfest in Malaysia as it has the potential of disrupting social harmony and safety as alcohol would be consumed openly, Tengku Zulpuri reminded the PAS vice-president to focus on serving the Muslims instead.

The DAP MP further claimed that all statements made by Idris contradicted the spirit of the Keluarga Malaysia slogan pioneered by the Government.

On the contrary, the minister’s intervention on the issue both contradicts the teachings of Islam and infringes on the freedom guaranteed in the Federal Constitution for non-Muslims to run non-halal business activities.

“As a Muslim MP, I agree that Muslims should not drink alcoholic beverages and engage in activities that are illegal in terms of Islam, but Muslims should not (likewise) interfere in the cultural, life and business affairs of non-Muslims,” Tengku Zulpuri pointed out in a statement.

He reminded that Oktoberfest is an autumnal festival originating in Western countries and celebrated by non-Muslim communities around the world, including countries like Palestine.

In Malaysia, Oktoberfest is a festival to promote beer internally held in non-halal restaurants and pubs.

“Idris’ statement regarding the non-Muslim restaurant business activities has actually affected the image of Islam itself because it portrays Islam as a religion that has no tolerance for the way of life of followers of other religions,” noted the opposition MP.

“Intolerant statements like this have also affected the efforts of subjugation and awareness among non-Muslims because they have triggered fear among non-Muslims against Islam.”

Tengku Zulpuri further chided Idris for repeatedly issuing statements that disrupted the harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims since taking charge of the ministerial portfolio, citing his earlier statement on the Bon Odori festival.

Recall that Idris had advised Muslims against joining the Japanese cultural celebration, saying it had elements of another religion in it.

His statement then prompted Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah to suggest that the former attend the celebration so that he could have a better understanding of it.

The ruler who had attended the event in 2016 said it was purely cultural and did not involve religious or ritualistic elements which could threaten the faith of Muslims.