Malaysian Islamic Council Bans Yoga
Mary Richard | November 21, 2008 at 11:17 pmby
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Worried that Muslims could be swayed by Yoga's elements of Hinduism, Malaysia's top Islamic body banned the community from practising this ancient physical exercise.
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia's Islamic regulating council on Saturday issued an edict banning Muslims from practicing yoga. The National Fatwa Council issued the ban Saturday, saying the practice of yoga involved physical movements, worshipping and chantings which were prohibited in Islam. Yoga, which originated in India but is widely practiced around the world, is popular among Malaysia's multiracial population. Muslims make up two-thirds of the country's 27 million population. While the council's decisions are not legally binding, many Muslims abide by the edicts out of deference. The council's decision is expected to raise the ire of certain Muslims groups and a considerably large group of Muslims who practice and teach yoga. The debate was sparked off recently when a lecturer of the National University of Malaysia, Zakaria Stapa, said that yoga, which is based on Hindu elements, could affect the faith of Muslims who practice it. He said yoga could cause Muslims to deviate from Islam.
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