Malaysian Muslims to ban yoga?

Tez3

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Carol

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The bowing thing has always annoyed me, bowing as a politeness has been done by Westerners nearly as long as it has by Orientals. If people as diverse in belief as Inquistors, Jesuits and Martin Luther could do it and see nothing wrong I don't see why anyone else has a problem.

They teach Yoga in Iran which is considered one of the most radical Muslim states.
http://www.iyengar-yoga.com/Yoga_Centers/Rest_of_the_World/Iran/Iyengar_Yoga_School_of_Iran_L616/


I think what disturbs me more is not the fatwa itself is the fact that the fatwa is coming from what has been one of the more progressive, and more diverse predominantly Muslim nations.

Yoga practices in south Asia can be a way of proselytizing certain Hinduistic ideals, and the practices can also blur the lines between exercise and spiritual growth. Its not uncommon for Muslim people in the region to be very superstitious (which also goes against the core of Islamic values), perhaps the powers-that-be are concerned that local people are too vulnerable to persuasion.

Yoga is also practiced by Sufis, the folks that have an ethereal and mystical approach to Islam that is very different from the practices of the Sunni and the Shi'a. The differences have lead some Islamic groups to not recognize Sufism as a sect of Islam. Practicing Sufism or possessing Sufi literature is a crime punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. While Sufism isn't technically legal in Iran, Sufism is highly (ahem) discouraged. Turkey (which has banned wearing of the hijaab) has also banned Sufi spiritual practices, and permits only certain cultural activities amongst its people.

Which...leaves me with a dark concern that this fatwa is that this may be another attempt to marginalize the gentle Sufis to a place that is further out of favor in Muslim society. :(
 

kaizasosei

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i always admired the kneeling part of muslim prayer as a kind of practice of seiza beneficial for the body.

when i practice moves, i try to stay out of sight and close the blinds....i have an enduring case of paranoia of being burned at the stake, be it figuratively speaking or whatnot.

j
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Well what looks to be happening in Indonesia is that the Conservative Muslim majority is starting to loose seats in their government. Consequently the fatwa is being issued to try and stem the tide. Judging by the article though they have a hard row to hold in preventing people from training in Yoga.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Yes and their was a skuttle butt over here not to long ago with an attempt to ban yoga that had made its way into some schools.
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Ninjamom

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In all fairness to the two churches that banned yoga classes in the UK, the 'banned classes' were being held in the church facilities. The churches did have the right (and dare I say responsibility) to draw a line between what they considered practices in keeping and not in keeping with their faith, as they see it and want it presented. Since their name is on the front door of the building, they are responsible for the religious content of whatever happens in the building.

As far as teaching yoga in schools, if they are public schools, then any teaching for Physical Education classes should be stripped of religious content, be it Muslim, Hindu, Christian, or Buddhist.

Yoga does have undeniable Hindu religious roots. While yoga can be taught without these elements, it usually isn't. Shakra points, prana circulation, and the like are Hindu concepts devoid of physical education value, and shouldn't be included in classes taught in public schools.

What concerns me about the fatwa in Malaysia is what I see as a general trend in Islamic countries: freedom is not extended to allow any disagreement in personal belief or practice. Freedom of conscience is an alien concept, and individuals are not credited with the ability to tell the difference between right and wrong. Therefore adherence to public moral standards must be maintained through heavy-handed external controls. This shows up in persecution of religious minorities, be they Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Zorastrian, or Sufi (groups persecuted to varying degrees in all Muslim countries where they live). I believe this comes from a different baseline belief about the nature of Almighty God Himself - Islam portrays Him as an arbitrary totalitarian authority (hence the belief that governments should exercise this same level of authoritarian control), while the Judeo-Christian view sees Almighty God as a loving Father (who therefore gives worth and value to each individual and allows the exercise of free will, even to the point of allowing the individual to make bad choices). I may not personally believe in the Hindu roots of yoga, but I would lay down my life to defend your right to believe and practice it.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Actually most Yoga is taught wholly without a religious bent. It has roots coming from a country that has a majority of Hindu's. However Yoga itself is not a religion nor has any teacher I have encountered ever tried to convert anyone or has it had any religious overtones.
 

Tez3

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Fair enough that the yoga was in church premises but why allow it then ban it? The same churches allow bingo, discos and other social occasions to go on there. They rent the hall out to make money, it's being hypocritical to take the yoga ladies money then turn her out because they don't agree with yoga.
if they had said no to her in the first place I'd respect their views but not the way they've done it.
 

Gordon Nore

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The Muslims aren't the only ones to ban yoga, the Christians do too.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1561811/Churches-ban-child-yoga-classes.htm

Tez, I couldn't get your Telegraph link to work, but that point also comes up in the article quoted in the OP:

In the United States, where it has become so popular that many public schools began offering it in gym classes, yoga has also come under fire. Some Christian fundamentalists and even secular parents have argued that yoga's Hindu roots conflict with Christian teachings and that using it in school might violate the separation of church and state.
 

Ninjamom

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Actually most Yoga is taught wholly without a religious bent. ..........nor has any teacher I have encountered ever tried to convert anyone or has it had any religious overtones.
Interesting. My personal experience has been the exact opposite. I have found religious content in every eastern art I've experienced (be it yoga, martial arts, or even some forms of massage), but not in the way that you might think. I have found that American teachers of eastern arts tend to inject spirituality into what they teach, more-so than the practice probably originally warranted. Whether it's talking about 'positive and negative energies', or breathing from your inner center, or radiating force, the religious content tends to be more 'Star Wars' than Hinduism or Buddhism, but it seems to grow. I guess maybe Americans tend to think that anything 'eastern' has a spiritual mystique about it, and therefore many people add one, even when it's not there.

Anyway, my point with regard to the current discussion is one of basic trust. I trust you to evaluate whatever religious content is or is not there, and decide for yourself whether such content is or is not acceptible. Such trust is lacking in the example of a blanket fatwa flat-out banning any and all yogic practice.

Fair enough that the yoga was in church premises but why allow it then ban it? ........if they had said no to her in the first place I'd respect their views but not the way they've done it.
When I first checked, the link posted above was broken, so I found the original article and several more regarding the same incident. The pastor was not originally informed of the purpose for which the church premises were rented. As soon as he found out, he refunded the lady's money and told her the class would not be acceptible for the particular church. It was done amicably, and would not have made any news at all, if not for the way the headlines could be bent to feed into an already-existed stereotype of Christians as legalistic kill-joys. Again, that is a major difference I see: the church's action affected only participation in yoga inside the walls of that particular church, while the Muslim fatwa attempts to ban anyone from practicing any form of yoga anywhere in the country.
 

Tez3

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There is a church community in the town that's nearest to where I live that campaigns to ban yoga,Tai Chi, martial arts, spiritualism, the Roman Catholic church (it seems the Pope is the Anti-Christ to them), Harry Potter books among others from the local libraries, Halloween, horoscopes in newspapers and magazine, wargaming, Dungeons and Dragons, goths, hippies, Jews, gays, co habiting couples and just about everything they can. They actually accost you in the street, will come into the pubs and park themselves next to you to engage in meaningful conversions. Given a chance they would ban everything they hate countrywide too. They even harrass the local Quaker meeting house and you cannot get a more loving non offensive religious movement than the Society of Friends.
Luckily there's only a few of them here, so they are more of a joke than anything but they bear watching. Extremists of any kind are problematic for societies and could always prove dangerous to peoples freedom.
 

Tez3

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They sound like a real fun bunch :rolleyes:

I'm curious - do they appear to be growing?

Not around us but countrywide they appear to be. The biggest concern we have with them is who they are targeting in particular. I help as a volunteer a mental health support group, some of the people we help have been approached by them telling them to stop taking their medication as Jesus will cure them. Saying this to people with Bi Polar and other disorders who have problems with medication is hugely irresponsible. the also target school children, waiting around they school gates to hand out pamphlets and chat to children. Like the fundamental Muslims they are so certain they are right and they know what is right for everyone, they believe there isn't a choice for people other than their way.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6192785.stm
 
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