KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s leader assured Muslims on Wednesday they can perform yoga if they do not chant religious mantras.
Last week, the National Fatwa Council said elements of Hinduism in the practice could corrupt Muslims. Many ordinary Muslims responded by saying they had been performing yoga for years without losing their faith.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told the Bernama news agency that Muslims who performed yoga exercise without chanting Hindu mantras could carry on with their activity.
“I wish to state that a physical regime with no elements of worsh ip can continue, meaning, it is not banned. I believe that Muslims are not easily swayed into polytheism,” he said. “What I understand from the decision of the National Fatwa Council is that it was aimed at explaining to Muslims the implications of yoga practice,” Abdullah added.
Abdullah’s aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements, said the prime minister wanted to curb confusion about the body’s edict. Council representatives could not immediately be reached for comment. – Agencies