Posted by: becketfund | January 25, 2009

Indonesia: Government Debates Ban on Smoking, Bans Yoga

PDANG PANJANG – Indonesia’s top Islamic body debated on January 25 whether to apply a blanket ban on smoking for Muslims or place a more limited restriction on tobacco use in the nation, Reuters reported on January 25. The Islamic body met in West Sumatra, where about 700 people, including Muslim clerics and theological experts, met for the National Edict Commission meeting, which has the power to issue fatwas on a range of issues from polygamy to yoga. The debate over smoking has revealed a split between those wanting to make it “haram,” or not allowed, and others who favor a “makruh,” an Arabic term whereby it would only be advised that smoking is bad but not forbidden. On January 26, the Islamic body determined that Muslims should avoid yoga as the Hindu prayers used could erode Muslims’ faith. Under similar circumstances, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi intervened in 2008 to say that Muslims could carry on doing yoga minus chanting after the Malaysian National Fatwa Council had issued a ban.

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