No consensus among Malay states on fatwa banning yoga for Muslims

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Kuala Lumpur, Nov 25 : There seems to be no consensus on the yoga ban for Muslims pronounced by the National Fatwa Council in Malaysia, as different states in the country have differing opinions on the fatwa.

Sisters in Islam (SIS) research and publications programme manager Masjaliza Hamzah said that there were a lot of differing opinions going around. "People are looking at it from different angles," quoted her as saying.

On Saturday, the National Fatwa Council banned Muslims from practising yoga, which saw a mixed reaction from various quarters.

She also questioned the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) director-general Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abd Aziz's statement, whereby he said: "Can we appeal to God to change the rules according to our whims and desires?"

She said: "It is fallible for a religious leader like him to say that fatwa cannot be appealed. It's not a divine decision. A national fatwa in Malaysia is not legally binding unless the states adopt and gazette it. Only then does it become law."

Masjaliza also said that SIS would like to meet Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the National Fatwa Council "with regards to fatwa in general". "We would also like to know whose opinions they seek before deciding on a fatwa," she added.

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