Malay Muslim caner patients a dismayed lot after ban on practicing yoga

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Kuala Lumpur, Nov 24 : Many Muslim cancer survivors here who practised yoga for their well-being are a disappointed and confused lot over the National Fatwa Council's fatwa banning yoga for Muslims.

National Cancer Society of Malaysia's advisor Datuk Zuraidah Atan said she had been inundated with calls from the survivors who were confused and apprehensive over the edict or fatwa.

"Most 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," thestaronoline.com quoted her as saying.

"An 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. There 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," she said and added that the council organised a weekly free yoga session for cancer survivors, especially those who were over 40 as a form of relaxation and breathing exercise.

"Besides 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.

She further said that yoga, 'qi gong' and line dancing were good for cancer survivors because they were group dynamics which also helped promote positive thinking and unity among survivors of different race and religion. "There were many levels of yoga and only yoga in its purest form involved religious chanting," she added.

The National Fatwa Council in Malaysia had on Saturday declared that yoga was 'haram' in Islam and Muslims were banned from practising it.

ANI

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