The last we heard of the looming Indonesian yoga ban was in early December 2008. And now it seems the top Islamic body in the country will be meeting this weekend at the National Edict Commission meeting, to debate the corruptibility of yoga on the world’s largest Muslim population (approx. 85 percent of the 226 million citizens).
It’s not just a yoga party though, this is a full on summit with an estimated guestlist of 700 people, including theological experts, covering such hot topics as a smoking ban, permission to abstain from voting and the latest outrageous subject, underage marriage.
“There will be debate before we reach conclusions. We need to listen to the pros and cons and it’s likely to be a hot debate,” said Ma’ruf Amin, a chairman of the Ulema Council, known as MUI.
The MUI has carved a key role for itself in Indonesia and its pronouncements on everything from Islamic banking to halal food can have a big influence on Southeast Asia’s top economy.
While the smoking bit has already gotten tobacco companies up in arms (Indonesia happens to be the world’s No. 5 tobacco market, obviously affecting their economy), we’re not sure if the yoga ban will be met with such protest as in Malyasia a couple of months ago, which prompted the Prime Minister to clarify by stating it was acceptable to practice yoga sans the chanting.
We’ll be keeping an eye on it over the weekend, though we doubt there will be any definitive decision come Monday. These guys like to deliberate.
Indonesia Islamic body to mull ban on smoking and yoga [Reuters UK]
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