Sunday, February 15, 2015

Smokers Can Lose Their Heads

Back in 1995, the National Fatwa Council had declared that smoking was haram (i.e. forbidden) – but until today, the religious authorities haven’t done anything about it.
I suppose they knew they couldn’t enforce the fatwa even if they tried. Tobacco addiction must be so entrenched among Malay Muslims that they’d rather turn a blind eye to this dependence – otherwise, there will be plenty of red faces. This is one vice in which they shall indulge in earnestly. Even if it kills them.
But the Islamic State showed they are not impotent nor powerless.
They have long imposed strict bans on cursing, alcohol, music, smoking and other acts deemed sinful. It was reported Thursday that an Egyptian national who was an Islamic State police official, i.e. the deputy “emir” of the al-Hesbah force in the area was beheaded last month in the city of Deir-al-Zor in eastern Syria with a cigarette in his mouth. “O Sheikh this is munkar (hateful and evil thing)” was written on his body.
If anybody still doubts that smoking kills – he or she need only to venture into IS territory.
Confiscated cigarettes are burned in the city of Raqqa in Syria on April 02, 2014. Reuters
“Every smoker should be aware that with every cigarette he smokes in a state of trance and vanity is disobeying Allah,” said one statement issued by the so-called IS Preaching Office last year. Another statement described smoking as “a slow suicide”.
IS have burned millions of cigarette packs in Iraq and Syria in order to enforce the smoking ban. The militants have also seized cannabis fields and have posted videos of the marijuana plants doused in gasoline and set ablaze.
Those who violate the smoking ban face a minimum penalty of 40 lashes with a whip. However, the consequences of a repeated offense can be as severe as prison time or even execution. It is said that some find relief across the border in Turkey where they take secret cigarette breaks.
If the Marlboro Man had lived in the Islamic State, he'd be beheaded before he had a chance to die of cancer.
Malay Muslims who enjoy their smokes and who are thinking about heading to Iraq and Syria to join the IS – be warned!
The University of Nottingham had their maiden Toastmasters meeting on Thursday. I was there as a General Evaluator but I could offer only words. It was obvious that they would need a lot of guidance and help and support before they can stand on their own two feet. It would be great to see them become as successful as Sunway University Toastmasters Club one day.
As far as the meeting was concerned, it was alright. I note with some concern that only one external Toastmaster from Premier Advanced was there – where were the others? Certainly, the club exco have their work cut out for them.



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