Alcohol – An Individual Choice

On July 29,2009 a Muslim model was sentenced to six lashes and a fine of 5,000 ringgit for consuming beer in a nightclub. Just two weeks after, we have a political feud regarding the sale of alcohol in convenience stores. Their justification for rising up the issue (after so many years it being sold in such stores) is firstly; the sentiments of the area being a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood and secondly; drinking among schoolchildren and undergraduates is getting out of hand.

The shallowness of such thoughts surprises me. Based on their first reason, Kamil Hafidh wrote “Resolve beer issue with an open mind” (The Star, Aug 6) which expresses exactly what I feel. I believe that it is the faith of Islam that should stop a Muslim from purchasing and consuming alcohol, not the unavailability to buy it. People who crave for beer will eventually find their way to buy beers if they want too, because as these leaders themselves admit that there are other ways for people to purchase it.

Secondly, if they are worried about the consumption of alcohol among youths, why aren’t they taking any measures on beer advertisements which are already proven to have an influence. Advertisers create images that compel us to buy the product, and these advertisements are allowed on main stream media such as newspapers as well as in the cinema where youngsters are exposed too. With the vulnerability of youths and the creation of a perception that drinking is cool, how can any party possibly curb the intake of alcohol?

The part-time model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno’s incident was “aimed at making the accused repent and serves as a lesson to other Muslims,” quoted Judge Abdul Rahman Yunus as saying. My only question is, when will we ever learn that we cannot stop anyone from doing something through the manipulation of fear. One has to make their own decision, based on the their conscious and faith whether to indulge in something or to avoid it altogether.

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