Tag Archives: Yoga

Islamic Women In Malaysia Demand Rights!

There is an increasing tendency on the part of conservative fundamentalist clerics to issue edicts about aspects of modern life that bear no relation to anything about religion but say a great deal about their desire to impose upon people conformity in thinking. A religious order banning women from dressing like “tomboys” was bad enough, but now there is an edict forbidding them to engage in yoga because it is connected to the Hindu religion. A group of Malaysian women have concluded it is time to fight religion with religion. The Musawah(equality) project has emerged under which women will seek to take back their society from the clerics. They have no problem with the Koran but considerable with men who interpret the Koran to fit their preconceived ideas.

Zib a Mis-Hosseini argues “feminist Islamic scholarship is trying to unearth the facts that were there” and examine the legal tradition in a scholarly manner in order to confront clerics with facts not opinions. She believes Iranians were moving toward more liberal view of the Koran until Bush policies created fear and gave fundamentalists more power.

Unfortunately, there is a thousand years of male legalistic jargon which dominates the Muslim religion and it is doubtful if women in the near future can undo the power of the past.

Indonesia Muslim Council Against Smoking And Yoga

I often wonder how religious groups decide what to support and what to oppose. One assumes their decisions to ban something is connected to a religious principle or to something a religious authority years ago declared to be part of the religion. Indonesia’s Ulema Council (MUI) has issued an edict which bans the use of yoga on the part of Muslims and also bans smoking on the part of pregnant women and children. An additional declaration by the group imposes a demand on the part of Muslims to vote in elections, of course, as long as they vote for someone who meets the criteria of “being Muslim, honest, brilliant and ready to fight for the people.” For some reason, the exact meaning of being “for the people” is not spelled out other than making certain no good Muslim is caught engaging in yoga.

Another edict imposed a ban on abortion unless the mother was a rape victim. Isn’t in human nature to resist edicts imposed by government institutions? How about an education campaign to convince people to vote, not to smoke, and to avoid yoga at any cost since it might be damaging to their religious principles. How about an edict against poverty or one in which any form of physical violence is deemed to be against the Muslim religion?

No Yoga Says Muslim Clerics!

The fundamentalist spirit which is found in every religion throughout the world invariably emerges with edicts and pronouncements which reflect on a spirit that looks backward rather than accepts life in its contemporary diversity. Malaysia’s top Islamic body banned Muslims from practicing Yoga on grounds the Indian physical exercise contains elements of Hinduism that would lead to the corruption of a Muslim soul. “We are of the vies that Yoga, which originates from Hinduism, contains physical exercise, religious elements, chanting and worshipping for the purpose of achieving inner peace and ultimately to be one with god. It is inappropriate. It can destroy the faith of a Muslim,”

It is difficult to envision how “achieving inner peace and ultimately to be one with god” is not appropriate for individuals belonging to any faith. The edict is simply another manifestation of a growing intolerance on the part of Malaysia’s fundamentalist Muslims who recently made it immoral for girls to act like tomboys. What next– eating a Kosher hot dog sends Muslims to hell?