15th April 2010 3 By Dr Afiq Rahim

Petition Title: Alcoholic Consumption and Improper Social Behaviours at Malaysian Events.

2721723215 b06879bc72 - Say NEVER to ALCOHOL !!!

Date: 26th March 2010

On Friday 19th March 2010, a musical concert was held at the University of Manchester, an even organised by ‘Kugiran Negara ke United Kingdom Enterprise’ (KNUKE) in collaboration with the Malaysian Student Society of Manchester (MSSM). It featured a Malaysian band, ‘Couple’, along with a host of British bands that includes The Rays, House of Five, The Stowaways and The Beat Marshals and a junior band comprising of children around the age of 10. The concert took place between 6pm and 10pm at the Student Union’s Main Hall and was reportedly attended by approximately 150 people, 80-90% of which were Muslim Malaysians who are currently studying in Manchester.

During the course of the concert eyewitnesses have confirmed that alcohol was liberally consumed by the majority of the people in the audience, including the said Muslim Malaysians. In a recent correspondence with the co-organizer (MSSM), it was claimed that neither the KNUKE nor the MSSM distributed or sold alcohol to the audience. While the organizers admitted to having served alcohol to the British bands upon request, it was only confined to the backstage room, a place where nobody apart from the organizers had access to. Several members of the audience have reported that Muslim Malaysians were seen buying alcoholic drinks from a bar outside the gig venue, and some claim that those who purchased alcohol later distributed it among the audience. Both KNUKE and MSSM have insisted that the organizers were in no position to prevent the purchase and distribution of alcohol due to the fact that the Student Union has no regulation that restricts such acts.

Free mingling between members of both sexes was also on full display, according to reports by several members of the audience. Some Muslim Malaysians were seen kissing in public and engaged in manners unfit for students bearing the Islamic and Malaysian image. These behaviours could have been induced by the alcoholic consumption, even though most of the members of the audience were not drunk at the concert. Regardless of their mental state, the behaviours displayed by these students were below par by Malaysian standard and in serious breach of Islamic social regulations.

Many students all over the UK are concerned with the reports above, primarily because it is felt that the activities mentioned above could have been prevented and should not be allowed to be replicated in any Malaysian event attended by Malaysian Muslims. The Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM) has pointed out that not only was the consumption of alcohol at the concert a cause for concern, but the fact that there was even presence of alcohol at an event that claimed to be Malaysian and that it was attended by Muslims and children is a further point of worry. The consumption and distribution of alcohol is strictly prohibited in Islam and the Malaysian culture is against free and public display of affection between members of both sexes. It is believed that the behaviours indulged in at the concert were a gross distortion of the image of both Islam and Malaysia.

We, representing the majority of students in the UK who are against the social conduct displayed at the concert, would like to strongly urge the Malaysian Student Department to do the following:

1. Conduct a thorough investigation into how alcohol was freely distributed at an event hosted by Malaysian organizations who denied involvement in both the purchase and the distribution of alcohol among the audience. Those responsible, whether in professional or personal capacity, should be held accountable and given a gentle reminder of the appropriate social conduct that needs to be observed at an entertainment event such as this. We believe that this investigation needs to commence promptly so as to avoid a replication of the same social picture at the next concert featuring the Malaysian band Couple, which will also be attended by many Malaysian Muslims.

2. Draw a clear set of regulations that needs to be abided by future organizers of like events. We are aware that part of the reason behind the excessive behaviours at the said concert was due to the fact there had been no definitive and concrete guideline of what is morally accepted in a social event and what is not. The MSD must play a central role in standardizing the social code of Malaysian entertainment events in the hope of preventing the presence of alcohol and the display of inappropriate behaviours among those in attendance.

3. Produce a clear and firm statement regarding this issue for the attention of all Malaysian communities in the United Kingdom. It is hoped that once this is done, the message will be conveyed that what happened at the concert is not condoned and accepted by the Malaysian community.

4. Commence efforts to ensure that all future Malaysian events are alcohol-free. It is widely accepted that the UK is steeped in its alcoholic tradition which Muslim students must respect. However, the respect given must be merely formal in nature and we believe that the MSD must attempt at creating an alcohol-free environment for Malaysian students where it is possible to do so and it is strongly held that the aforementioned concert was one such example. Promoting alcohol-free environments will not be difficult considering the high level of tolerance commonly associated with the United Kingdom.

Your cooperation to support this cause and fulfill the requests as stated above is highly appreciated.

Jazakallahu khairan kasira,
Many thanks,
Be Sober and Be Muslim !
Ibn Abd Rahim,
Dublin 8.

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