No penalty for Malaysia’s Sarawak Muslims performing yoga

December 10th, 2008 - 3:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuching (Malaysia), Dec 10 (IANS) Malaysia’s Sarawak state has forbidden Muslims to perform yoga exercises, but there would be no penalty for those who choose to do it.Sarawak has ruled that yoga is ‘haram’ (forbidden) for Muslims in the state in line with the fatwa (edict) issued by the National Fatwa Council on yoga exercises last month, said The New Straits Times newspaper.

Assistant Minister (Islamic Affairs) in the Chief Minister’s Office Daud Abdul Rahman said it was up to the Muslims in the state to adhere to the fatwa or not.

He said no legal action would be taken against those who continued to do yoga.

“However, they are advised to do other forms of physical activity to keep fit and healthy,” The New Straits Times newspaper quoted him as saying Wednesday.

He said that owners of yoga centres would need to consider adapting the yoga exercise to their own religious beliefs.

Malacca has also agreed to implement the fatwa, while Penang, Kedah, Terengganu, Perak and Selangor were still discussing the issue, the official Malaysian news agency Bernama reported.

The national body issued an edict after determining that yoga, which has its origin in ancient India, when practiced by Muslims, diluted the latter’s religious beliefs.

This has, however, generated a controversy with many yoga practitioners and instructors saying that it is a mere keep-fit regime and no religious content was practised.

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