Muslim couple's NGO to join International Yoga Day celebration

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Lucknow, Jun 16: An NGO run by a Muslim couple has been selected in Uttar Pradesh to organise a yoga camp on International Yoga Day, even as some minority groups have been objecting to the event to be held on June 21.

Mohammad Sayeed Memorial Welfare Society, an NGO run by Akhtar and his wife Shaista, has been selected by the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy under Union Ministry of Ayush to conduct the camp in Balrampur district.

Muslim couple's NGO to join on yoga day

"We have been selected by the ministry and the organisation is already conducting training classes since May 21," Shaista Akhtar told PTI over phone.

She said the organisation was supposed to train 100 people, but the participation has steadily increased.

"We hope that on June 21 about 200 people will attend the mass session, venue for which will be finalised on June 18," she said.

Shaista said as of now 15 to 16 Muslims were attending the classes, but their participation during International Yoga Day is not confirmed.

"We cannot take the surety of their participation as Ramadan will start, but we are telling people that when they have attended the classes for 30 days, then why not for one more day," she said.

On Muslim organisations raising objections over recitation of 'Om' she said, "Yoga is not merely an exercise, it is about connecting with something. It is both external and internal."

"We are telling people that if they have objection they should chant Allah or ayat, which comes in their mind. We do not force anyone," she said. Shaista also said that the entire controversy around Yoga was all politics.

"Was Yoga not there before? There might be objections as it has been initiated by Narendra Modi. There would have been no objection if it would have been initiated by a Muslim," she said.

She said it is not right to associate yoga with politics or religion.

"For instance if Unani medicines does not suit a person, then will he refuse to take Ayurvedic medicine? These are not old times, we cannot live being narrow minded anymore," she said.

She said, on June 21, Ayush doctors would be specially invited to the camp, who will inform participants about various diseases, their cures, medicines and benefits of Yoga.

Shaista said their objective was that people draw maximum benefit out of yoga and added that her husband has been practicing yoga since the last 10 years.

PTI

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