Indonesia not to follow Malaysian move on yoga

November 26th, 2008 - 11:13 am ICT by IANS  

Jakarta, Nov 26 (IANS) Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population, will not follow the Malaysian move to ban Muslims from practicing yoga, the country’s top clerics have said. “It is okay if it’s for sport but I do not know if it is proven that it can destroy our beliefs as Muslims or contains ideas of polytheism,” Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) deputy chairman Umar Shehab was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post Monday.

MUI edict commission deputy chairman Ali Mustafa Yakub said there was no need to ban yoga as no Muslims were found practising it in Indonesia.

“If they are, they are not publicly visible, so there is no problem,” he said.

Yakub added that the Indian influence in Indonesia was not as strong as in Malaysia and such influence was only limited to music.

Shihab said more research had to be done before a decision can be made to prohibit yoga. The council had not carried out any study on yoga as it had not received any objection from the public.

The Indonesian clerics were reacting to the ongoing debate in Malaysia, where the National Fatwa Council last week issued an edict declaring that the practice of yoga by Muslims is “haram” (prohibited) as it dilutes Islamic values and practice.

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