‘Surya Namaskar is in opposition to Islam’

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Published on Sep 25, 2016 11:33 AM IST
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MUMBAI : Surya Namaskar — a yoga routine known as ‘sun salutation’ — is opposed to the fundamental concept of Islam and is therefore a violation of the fundamental religious rights of students studying in Urdu medium schools run by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), a municipal councillor contended in a Public Interest Litigation filed (PIL) in the Bombay high court last week.

Rais Kasam Shaikh, a councillor from Mumbai Central, challenged the civic body’s August 23 decision making Surya Namaskar and yoga mandatory for students studying in 1,285 civic schools during their morning prayers.

Shaikh said that of these 1,285 schools, 400 schools are Urdu medium institutions.

He added that about one lakh students study in such institutions.

A majority of these are followers of Islam, he added.

By making yoga mandatory, the BMC is attempting to impose upon these students “a system and practice completely foreign to the followers of religions such as Christianity and Islam,” read the PIL.

“Articles 25 to 28 of the Constitution of India guarantee a fundamental right to every citizen to preach, practice and propagate the religion of their choice including the practices and systems adopted by such religions,” it stated.

“The fundamental concept of Islam affirms that God is one and incomparable,” Shaikh asserted in his PIL.

“It disowns any other God except the one God (Allah),” it stated.

The sun is considered to be a god in Vedic literature and thus, a sun salutation is in opposition to Islam under Article 25 of the Constitution, stated Shaikh in his PIL.

A person following Islam, if asked to perform surya namaskara — a Hindu Vedic system and practice — will be required to do something that is opposed to his or her religious beliefs, said Shaikh.

Believers of Islam cannot be compelled to follow such a practice, read the PIl.

A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak have posted this PIL for hearing, along with another one filed by a Kurla resident, which challenges the same resolution.

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