After the controversy over Bon Odori, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), Datuk Idris Ahmad is now calling for a ban on the upcoming Oktoberfest festival in Malaysia.
According to The Star, Idris claimed that the festival poses a threat to social harmony and safety.
He said that while non-Muslims are not forbidden from consuming alcohol, the Oktoberfest events could trigger social problems as alcohol is consumed openly in a festival setting.
“On Oktoberfest, everyone should respect the rules and laws of Malaysia. Islam is the federal religion,” Idris said, adding that having alcoholic drinks at a party open to the public should not be allowed as it can trigger social problems affecting harmony and safety.
“Besides that, the intoxicating effects of alcohol can lead to domestic violence, traffic accidents, poverty, fights, health problems and work performance issues.”
Nonetheless, this is not the first time the Islamist party is calling for a ban on Oktoberfest. Previously, its party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang claimed that the festival goes against Islam and disregarded Muslim sensitivities.
Responding to the recent Bon Odori festival, Idris said the government isn’t against the Bon Odori festival by the Japanese Embassy as it is a cultural celebration of the Japanese based on their traditions and beliefs.
However, he advised Muslims not to be present at such cultural events as preliminary studies and observations by the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) have shown that it has teachings of other religions and is against Islam.
His remarks then drew criticisms from both Malaysians and the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, who later decreed that the Bon Odori will proceed as planned in July and told the group to go down and “see the event for themselves”.
Despite Idris’ protest against Bon Odori, the festival was still an success, where an estimated 35,000 participants were seen attending the event at the Shah Alam Sports Complex.
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