Zawawi Defends Remarks on Christianity Forbidding Alcohol

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Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh defended his remarks on the consumption of alcohol in Christianity, saying it was stated in the scripture known as the Old Testament that alcohol was forbidden.

He stood by his earlier statement in the Dewan Rakyat that alcohol consumption was forbidden in all religions and “beseeched” all those who distorted his explanation in the lower house to support Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong’s campaign against drink-driving.

“To those who insist on an apology, let us meet and have a cup of tea, discuss amiably and come to understand each other better,” said the PAS lawmaker.

“We Muslims, as well as Christians, believe there is an old testament that came to Prophet Isa and a new testament that was written after his passing,” he said in a statement today.

FMT

“In the Old Testament, it is explicitly stated that alcohol is forbidden, even wine, again and again,” he added.

He said there were 75 scripture warnings against the consumption of alcohol in the Bible.

He cited Proverbs 20:1 from the Bible which read: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” and Proverb 23:31, which said: “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.”

“Also, I would not deny the fact there are occurrences in the Bible when alcohol was seen as medicinal,” he added.

The PAS man said it would be a sin for Christians themselves to claim the religion allowed the consumption of alcohol, which will lead to drunkenness.

Zawawi, who has a doctorate in Preaching and Leadership from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said the opposition had tried to steer the Dewan Rakyat away from the actual issue at hand, which was drink-driving.

He maintains it was not his intention to insult anyone or any faith.

He said he has repeated time and again to those who refuted his statement, to meet up and have a proper dialogue where facts and arguments can be exchanged.

Zawawi also said he has great respect for his Christian brethren and will not go to the extent of insulting anyone, adding that he studied comparative religion to understand the faith in its most “holy sense”.

Muslims also believe in Jesus as Prophet Isa and are required to believe in the original scripture revealed to him, he said.

“We as Muslims are very clear we should believe in all the divine scriptures revealed to the prophets before Prophet Muhammad. Hence, I humbly state I see no need for me to apologise to Christians as some quarters have asked me to,” he said.

His remarks in the Dewan Rakyat drew criticism from church leaders and lawmakers, who demanded an apology.

There have also been several police reports lodged against him.

While speaking on amendments to raise penalties for drink-driving, Zawawi said no religion allowed its followers to drink alcohol and the government’s move to impose harsher penalties for driving under influence should not be a religious issue. – TMI