Scholars attached with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs have expressed their scorn over the government’s attempt to whitewash yoga.
A senior figure at the Ministry reported to TMJ on the condition of anonymity that Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Ahmed Zahir had attempted to release a statement, labeling yoga as aligned with Islamic beliefs.
The source said that the Minister had met with several of the scholars to gain backing for the statement.
All the scholars who attended the meeting had refused to toe the government line, adding their displeasure at the government’s attempts to whitewash the event that was carried out in collaboration with the Indian High Commission in the Maldives and the Ministry of Youth.
The scholars also stated that they will never endorse any statements that claim that yoga is aligned with Islamic beliefs. They further said that they had previously remained silent on what the Government’s stance on many issues but would not do so in future.
Most scholars agree that yoga, while it has many health benefits, is not permissible in Islam as the basis of yoga is intertwined with sun worship.
The event was held at dawn on Tuesday in National Football stadium, in collaboration with Indian Cultural Centre and Youth Ministry.
A group of youth, carrying flags displaying “I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” in Arabic, had interrupted the event. They had called on the event participants to leave the area.
India has ordered the Government of Maldives to implement strict action, including jail term on youth, for interrupting the Yoga Day event. The events of Tuesday, they add, are the direct result of the “India Out” campaign headed by the opposition, and therefore, legal grounds need to be found to halt the campaign.
Two scholars have been arrested in connection to the disruption. Two members of opposition, former Member of Parliament Hussain Mohamed and Ibrahim Razaan, were arrested as well. Six more were detained on Tuesday.
One of Sheikhs arrest is Sheikh Adam Nishan Mohamed. The scholar was on way to Isha prayers in Furqan Mosque. His five-year-old son was accompanying him to prayers and was witness to his father’s arrest. Social media videos show the Sheikh and his son surrounded by MPS officers. Sheikh Nishan is seen hugging and consoling his son.
The other is Sheikh Fazloon. Ministry of Islamic Affairs has suspended the licenses granted to Sheikh Adam Nishan and Sheikh Fazloon Mohamed.