Malaysian cancer survivors
disappointed with yoga ban
Lumpur, Nov 24 (IANS) Malaysian Muslims who have been fighting
cancer with the help of yoga are "disappointed and confused"
over last week's move by the National Fatwa Council to ban
the ancient Indian fitness regime among Malays.
is a need for the Fatwa Council to explain their edict properly
so that Muslims who practise yoga, including cancer survivors,
are not made to feel guilty," said National Cancer Society
of Malaysia's advisor Zuraidah Atan.
said she had been inundated with calls from cancer survivors
who were confused and apprehensive over the fatwa (edict).
overreaching fatwa like this is not good for them as unnecessary
worry can have a negative effect on them psychologically and
physically. Some are already feeling guilty for practising
it," she was quoted as saying in The Star newspaper Monday.
yoga, we also have qi gong sessions. Is the Fatwa Council
going to ban qi gong, too, because it has its origins in Buddhism?
Then how about line dancing? We also organise that as a form
of light exercise for cancer survivors," she said.
said yoga, qi gong and line dancing were good for cancer survivors
because they were group dynamics, which helped promote positive
thinking and unity among survivors belonging to different
religions and communities.
said there were many levels of yoga and only yoga in its purest
form involved religious chanting.
Muslims know this. The yoga that is being taught in yoga centres
nationwide only concentrates on techniques and has nothing
to do with the promotion of Hinduism," she stressed.
said the Cancer Society organised a weekly free yoga session
for cancer survivors, especially those who were over 40 as
a form of relaxation and breathing exercise.
National Fatwa Council Saturday declared that yoga is haram
(prohibited) in Islam and Muslims are banned from practising
Chairman Abdul Shukor Husin said yoga had been practised by
the Hindu community for thousands of years and incorporated
physical movements, religious elements together with chants
and worshipping, with the aim of being one with god.
noted that while merely doing the physical movements of yoga
without the worshipping and chanting might not be against
religious beliefs, Muslims should avoid practising it altogether
as doing one part of yoga would lead to another.
university teacher of theology last month raised objection
to yoga, contending that it diluted Islamic beliefs.
ban has affected thousands of yoga practitioners and trainers
and those who endorse yoga-related items.
said the fatwa should not be questioned as Malaysian Muslims
were unaware of the impact of yoga on their religious lives.
state, meanwhile, became the first of the 13 states to endorse
the edict Sunday. Perak Religious Department director Jamry
Sury said the state would abide by the decision of the council
to disallow Muslims from practising yoga.
formal ban would be announced after a meeting of the department
officials Dec 9.
Malays form the majority in Malaysia's 28 million population
that also has 33 percent ethnic Chinese and eight percent
Indians, a bulk of them Hindus.