Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Showy Ban of Yoga

Stupid. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when I heard that Malaysia's top Islamic body, the National Fatwah Council, banned Muslims from practicing yoga.

The official line is that the National Fatwah Council is worried that yoga may cause Muslims to deviate from the Islamic faith as elements of Hinduism are part of the physical aspects of the exercise.

Now I know yoga comes originally from Hinduism, but nowadays, yoga is something that is practiced the world over by countless people. I know of Buddhists, Christians and Muslims who practice yoga and they are usually more worried about keeping in shape than religion. A ban of yoga will just show off to the world that Malaysia is intolerant about religious practices.

Not only that, I have to wonder what good will a ban do as it is unenforceable. The Council’s decision is non-binding for some states in Malaysia, and you can’t expect the Malaysian police to raid yoga classes to see if any Muslims are taking part in it. This ban seems more for show than anything else.

A show that will cause more harm than good for Malaysia and Islam. That is just something you don’t need.

No comments: