India, New Delhi: Yesterday, Muslim groups slammed a directive from India’s Hindu nationalist government for participants in International Yoga Day to chant “Om”, citing religious bias.
Even as the Union government is trying to promote Yoga as a government-recognized fitness regimen through the newly formed Ayush ministry, the Muslims had decided to throw a spanner in the works by claiming that Yoga is un-Islamic in many ways. They argued that many Yoga postures were related to Hindu form of worship, including the chanting of ‘Om’ during Pranayama.
Criticizing the decision of the Union government to make Yoga and chanting of ‘OM’ mandatory in all schools and colleges on the international Yoga day, Mufti Mudassar Ali Qadri said that chanting ‘Om’ was un-Islamic. He further said that by forcing Yoga on Muslims, the government was meddling into the religious affairs of Islam.
Talking to India Today, Mufti Qadri said that ‘Om’ is a part of the Hindu form of worship and imposing it on Muslims is an infringement of the fundamental rights of Islam. “Just like Muslims could not be forced to worship idols, they could not be forced to say ‘Om’ too,” he said.
Bhartiya Muslim Vikas Parishad chairman Sami Agai said that although he had not seen the UGC order yet, but he had learnt from the media that such an order had indeed been issued by the UGC to all the schools and universities, which was highly condemnable as it was against the Islamic religion. “Muslims of India believe in the constitution and law of India, but if they were forced to chant ‘Om’ on Yoga day, the Muslims should boycott this event completely,” he said. Agai also said that the Narendra Modi led Central Government, is working on the agenda fixed by the RSS and it keeps raising such issues from time to time. “If the UGC or the union government had read the constitution of India, they would not have issued such a debatable order,” he said.