Malaysia's National Fatwa Council, something like the MUI here in Indonesia, has ruled that Muslims will be barred from practising and spreading yoga.
Through its intentions, even the much-debated Anti-Porn Bill has logic in it. The fatwa to be issues above shows how arcane the rules can be.
The fear is that those who practice yoga may deviate from Muslim teachings. Seeing that yoga comes from Hindu roots, that must be what they are talking about, because I can't figure out why. Never mind the proven benefits for health, how widespread yoga is around the world, in various countries of faith, or how general yoga has become that the Hindu part almost has no relevance.
I'm sure the kyais feel that nowadays, many Muslims are not good practitioners of their faith, and thus they try to create fences to keep everybody in line and return to the true path of Islam. But wouldn't it be better to inspire rather than repress? Why isn't there anybody showing us how to live as proper Muslims in the 21st century? Surely being a good Muslim has more to it than wearing a headscarf and Friday prayer.
And it certainly doesn't have anything to do with doing yoga or not.