Scores of Muslim men and women will participate in the mega International Yoga Day event here tomorrow performing along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi various yoga asanas at the sprawling Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan. “At least 300 Muslim men and women will be participating in the International Yoga Day celebrations along with Modi. This will be undoubtedly a historic moment in the life of each and every member of our organisation, as they would share precious 80-minute period with the Prime Minister,” Raees Khan, the incharge of Muslim Rashtriya Manch for UP and Uttarakhand, told PTI.
Spokesperson of the All India Shia Personal Law Board Maulana Yasoob Abbas, when contacted, said, “Several students of Shia PG College will be going to Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan to participate in the Yoga Day event. Apart from this, parallel sessions will be held on the college campus. We will make efforts to ensure that yoga sessions are held on a daily basis in the college.”
On March 29, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, while addressing the three-day UP Yoga Mahotsava in Lucknow, had said that Surya Namaskar was similar to namaz (prayers) offered by Muslims and those opposing the yogic exercise wanted to divide the society on religious lines.
Adityanath, who had in the past lashed out at a section of Muslims for terming the practice of surya namaskar as “un-Islamic”, said the sun salutation was a beautiful example of religious harmony.
“The namaz offered by Muslims resembles different postures and asanas of surya namaskar including pranayama. What a beautiful example of harmony (between two religions). But some bhogis who do not believe in yoga, indulged in dividing the society on lines of caste, creed, religion and region among others,” he said.
“All asanas (postures) in surya namaskar, pranayama activities are similar to the way namaz is offered by our Muslim brothers. But nobody ever tried to bring them together because few people were interested only in bhoga not yoga,” he said.
“Before 2014, even talking about Yoga was considered communal. But things changed after Modi took steps to make Yoga popular across the world,” he said. Lauding the prime minister for making yoga a global phenomenon, Adityanath had said, “PM Modi deserves all the credit for the global recognition which yoga has got.”
“The number of countries which participated in the International Yoga Day celebrations in 2015 was 175, which went up to 192 in the subsequent year,” he said.