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Row over decree on drinks in Qatar

A religious decree allowing consumption of drinks that contain small quantities of alcohol, which is prohibited in Islam, has sparked a controversy in Qatar.

world Updated: Apr 14, 2008 02:17 IST

A religious decree allowing consumption of drinks that contain small quantities of alcohol, which is prohibited in Islam, has sparked a controversy in Qatar.

Qatar-based cleric Yousuf Al Qaradawi issued the religious edict last week sanctioning 0.5 per cent of alcohol in a drink.

The Egypt-born scholar, who chairs the International Organisation of Islamic Ulema (legislators), said such a small amount of alcohol is allowed because it does not cause intoxication. However, he specified the drink should be naturally fermented, according to a report in Gulf News.

"An alcohol volume of up to 5/1000 or 0.5 per cent in a drink has no significance in making it haram (prohibited). It is a very small quantity, especially if it results from natural fermentation and is not manufactured," according to the 'fatwa'.

The 78-year old scholar issued the edict in reply to public queries over the distribution of energetic drinks and food items containing small quantities of alcohol, which are available in the local market.

Editor in chief of Qatar's leading Arabic daily Al Sharq strongly argued against Al Qaradawi fatwa accusing him of stirring "confusion" among Muslims.