Malaysia: Muslims advised not to drink halal beer

The beverage has alcohol content higher than permitted under Islamic law.

Kuala Lumpur: Muslims in Malaysia have been advised against drinking a type of beer claimed to be halal (permissible) by the distributor because the beverage contained alcohol content higher than permitted under Islamic law, a media report said on Monday.

Jamil Khir Baharom, a minister in the Prime Minister`s Department, said the company`s claim that the beer contained only 0.01 percent of alcohol was not true as a laboratory test showed up to 0.5 percent of alcohol.

He said the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) and the state Islamic affairs councils would prohibit the sale of the beverage to Muslims.

"We will consult the Customs Department to seek more information on the matter," national news agency Bernama quoted Jamil as saying.

Malays, who are all Muslims, form 60 percent of Malaysia`s population of 28 million people.

The other races are 25 percent ethnic Chinese who are mostly Buddhists or Christians and eight percent ethnic Indians who are mostly Hindus.

A newspaper had reported yesterday that the halal beer was popular among Muslims and its sale was detected by the Johor Islamic Affairs Department (JAIJ) recently.

The daily quoted a source as saying that JAIJ took samples of the beverage and found that the drink was produced from various fruit flavours and the alcohol content was 0.5 percent. JAIJ then asked Jakim and the Customs Department to take appropriate action.

It quoted Johor state Mufti Mohd Tahrir Samsuddin as saying that the National Fatwa Council had decided that the permissible alcohol content in food and drinks according to Islamic law was under 0.01 percent.

PTI

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