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M'sian Muslim groups start online campaigns to oppose Oktoberfest

The New Paper | Friday, Oct 3, 2014

A waitress carries mugs of beer in the Schottenhamel tent during the opening day of the 181st Oktoberfest in Munich September 20, 2014.

Several Muslim groups in Malaysia have urged their supporters to rally against the annual Oktoberfest beer festival which begins today.

They have started an online campaign opposing the month-long festival, Malay Mail Online reported.

The groups claimed that Oktoberfest will "bring ruin" to the country, even though the festival is targeted only at non-Muslims.

A Facebook page Rakyat Malaysia Tolak Konsert Liar, which means "Malaysians Against Wild Concerts", has garnered over 3,000 likes.

The group behind the page posted details of entertainment events that it describes as "wild" and condemns them.

"Beer is the mother to all vices. When people are drunk, a lot of issues will happen afterwards. It does not only involve (drinkers) but others will also suffer," a post on the page reads.

The page also lists 10 venues that have been holding drinking parties, some of them private, as part of Oktoberfest, asking their supporters to protest against these so-called "vice dens".

Oktoberfest is held annually in Malaysia with the two biggest breweries GAB (Guiness Anchor Berhad) and Carlsberg holding drinking parties in major towns all over the country.

Oktoberfest was originally celebrated in Munich, Germany to accompany horse races but has grown into "the world's largest funfair", attracting millions of visitors every year.

The anti-Oktoberfest cause has also been picked up by Arus Baru, an online movement aligned with controversial Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma).

"Which MP will voice out against this beer festival? What is our action as concerned Malaysians? Let's protest!" said an update by Arus Baru, accompanied by a photo of a big beer tent which is part of GAB's event.

On Monday, Isma also published an editorial by one of its activists, who complained that one of his family members had received an invitation to an Oktoberfest event.

Although conceding that the invitation came with a disclaimer saying Muslims should ignore it should they receive it, the activist said such automatic invitation has no place in Malaysia.

He wrote: "The carnival was purely originating from the Bavarian culture, something that our country and people has zero historical connection to."


This article was first published on Oct 1, 2014.
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