Yoga ban for Muslims may take time to find mention in Malaysian gazette

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Kuala Lumpur, Nov 25 : State religious authorities in Malaysia will discuss the National Fatwa Council's ban on Muslims practising yoga before implementing the edict in the official gazette.

States normally adopt the decision of the national council, but in some cases takes time to implement it.

Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said that the Malacca Islamic Religious Council (Maim) would gazette the edict by early next month. He said the matter would be brought up at Maim's meeting next week.

"I hope no Muslims will dispute the National Fatwa Council's decision," quoted him as telling reporters after visiting the Malacca Islamic Tithe Centre at Kompleks Islam Masjid Al Azim.

Mohd Ali, who is also Maim chairman, said that it was imperative that Muslims adhere to the edict, even more so when it was a ruling decided by the national council.

The Penang State Religious Department said it would abide by the edict. Department's director Sazali Hussein said that as long as it was declared by the Council, the state fatwa committee would have to abide by it. "Muslims caught practising it will be charged under the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment (Penang) 1996 once the edict is gazetted by the state council," he said.

Sazali further said the state fatwa committee, comprising the state mufti, university scholars and theologians, would convene a meeting on the edict.

Sarawak Islamic Council chairman Datuk Putit Matzen said it had to be discussed and agreed upon by both the fatwa committee and the council, which would then present a paper to the state Cabinet. "If the Cabinet agrees, it will have to go to the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri. Only when the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri has consented can it be implemented. It's a long process," he said.

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