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Islamic body bans Yoga for Muslims

world Updated: Nov 22, 2008 12:57 IST

Worried that Muslims could be swayed by Yoga's elements of Hinduism, Malaysia's top Islamic body on Saturday banned the community from practising the ancient physical exercise.

The National Fatwa Council issued a religious decree telling the Muslims, who comprise two-thirds of Malaysia's 27 million population, that practising Yoga was 'haram' or prohibited in Islam.

Apart from the physical movements, the yoga practices contain worshipping and chanting, which were prohibited for Muslims, it said.

The ruling came after an Islamic studies lecturer recently advised Muslims, who had taken up yoga, to stop practising it as they could deviate from the teachings of Islam.

Meanwhile, the Sisters in Islam (SIS), an NGO, has hit out at a recent ruling on 'Tomboyish behaviour' by the National Fatwa Council, saying it was concerned with the continuous sexist and discriminatory approach towards Malaysian women, especially those who were Muslim.