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Muslim smokers worse than cows: Malaysia cleric

Malaysia's top Muslim cleric slams at smokers

Muslims who smoke and try to portray themselves as religious are worse than cows that defecate in the street, a top Malaysian Muslim cleric and politician said on Friday, pointing out that smoking was banned in Islam because the habit was hazardous to health.

"For example, a cow which defecates in the middle of the road, (we) cannot take legal action against it because it has no brain and cannot think," said Nik Aziz who is the spiritual leader of the country's Pan-Islamic Party (PAS).

"But human beings, who have brains, for them to do something which is wrong in religion ... when they are in an attire which symbolizes Islam [hijab or skull cap], they can be regarded as being more despicable than cows," he said in his weekly religious speech, according to Malaysia's state news agency Bernama.

Recently, Indonesia's top Islamic body passed a fatwa or ruling banning smoking. Malaysia's top Islamic body has also banned smoking.

Despite the ban in Malaysia, where over half the population of 27 million is Muslim, 50 percent of the male population smokes according to World Health Organization (WHO) data.

PAS is one of the three parties in Malaysia's opposition alliance led by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.

But human beings, who have brains, for them to do something which is wrong in religion ... can be regarded as being more despicable than cows

Nik Aziz