The imminent threat to ban yoga in Malaysia is not just about religion say some opponents of the fatwa. Sisters in Islam, a Muslim advocacy group for women’s rights, suggests the fatwa is just another move in the “continuing sexist approach” toward women. Apparently afraid of lesbianism the National Fatwa Council has already banned Muslim women from “tomboy” antics like short-hair and wearing pants, which spurred a protest in Kuala Lumpur last week. Other cited examples of sexism?
In June, the Kota Bharu Municipal Council in the country’s northeast issued a directive asking Muslim women not to wear heavy lipstick or high heels.
In recent years, the National Fatwa Council has issued rulings forbidding Muslims from using botox and women from entering beauty pageants.
Norien Hassan, a devout muslim, began practicing yoga when she learned it could help women conceive and did not see a religious connection or interference until the fatwa hit the news. “I’ve been telling a lot of people that it helps health-wise and I believe that if it’s something good, we should practise it,” she said.
The fatwa on yoga is perhaps a more profound cultural movement than we had originally anticipated. Still no word yet on the ruling from the National Fatwa Council.
Threat to Ban Yoga Tests Boundary of Tolerance [Malaysian Insider]