Don’t drink halal beer, Muslims told
PADANG SERAI (Malaysia): Muslims in the country have been advised against drinking a type of beer claimed to be “halal” (permissible) by the distributor company because the beverage contains alcohol content higher than permitted by Islamic law.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom said the company’s claim that the beer contained only 0.01 per cent of alcohol was not true as a laboratory test showed up 0.5 per cent 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.
Supplier: We didn't say it's 'halal beer'
KUALA LUMPUR: The supplier of a non-alcoholic beverage which has been linked to the "halal beer" dispute wants retailers to stop promoting the drink as such to avoid further confusion.
Suria Wholesaler has claimed that its malt beverage, Barbican, imported from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, has been sold here for eight years and does not contain alcohol.
"We have never marketed Barbican or other beverages as 'halal beer'. Barbican is a malt beverage.
"The alcohol content in Barbican is nil. Barbican has been sold in Arab countries, especially in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the past 25 years.
"The word 'beer' is not even on the product," said its director Ahmad al-Yatem.
It was reported on Tuesday that samples of a "halal beer" tested by the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) showed that it contained 0.5 per cent alcohol. The permissible level is below 0.01 per cent.
Jakim also said it had never issued halal certificates for such beverages because they did not meet the 1500:2009 halal standards.
The halal certificate by Jakim is the standard document for all halal food products in the country.
Ahmad claimed that Barbican had halal certification from the Islamic Food Research Centre Malaysia and Asia Region (IFRC) and had been checked by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department.
"We welcome Malaysian authorities to test our products. We are Muslims and we care for our customers. We will not sell anything that is haram."
Meanwhile, in Terengganu, Satiman Jamin reported regular consumers of another brand of non-alcoholic beverage were shocked when they saw a report that the beverage had alcohol.
“We will consult the Royal Customs Department to seek more information on the matter,” he told reporters yesterday evening.
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 had 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 per cent.
JAIJ then asked Jakim and the Customs Department to take appropriate action, including stopping the sale of the beverage, if necessary.
The newspaper quoted Johor 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 per cent.
He had said that ulama (religious scholars) agreed to set the alcohol content at that quantity as they felt that the amount could form naturally in food and drinks.
The “halal” beer, imported from an Islamic country in the Middle East, is available in cafes in Malaysia and is selling for between RM3 and RM5 per bottle.
“In a situation of uncertainty, I wish to advise Muslims to stop consuming the beverage so as not to get trapped in a confusing situation,” he said.