Muslim leaders in Kolkata condemned the International Yoga Day to be held on June 21, terming it “the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) way to forward its agenda of Hindutva”.
Shafique Qasmi, Imam of Nakhoda Masjid here, said that there already exists a physical training class in the schools and questioned the “need to impose yoga classes”.
“Yoga is a part of vedic culture and is part of Hinduism. Why should it be implemented in schools and among government officials? It would be illegal in a secular country like ours. If keeping fit is the objective, then Namaz is one of the best forms of exercise. Why can’t it (offering of Namaz) be made compulsory for Muslim students and officials?” he said while speaking to The Indian Express.
He also alleged that the International Yoga Day was the Centre’s way “to shift focus at a time when the people have started seeing through the anti-people policies of the Narendra Modi government”. “It is a part of a larger conspiracy being created by the Centre,” he said.
Similar was the views of Syed Md Nurur Rahman Barkati, Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid.
“It is wrong and should be condemned by all secular people. It is another attempt by the central government to hurt the sentiments of Muslims and, at the same time, is a veiled threat to their existence. I would also urge the All India Muslim Personal Law Board to condemn it in strong terms and I would also talk to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to protest against this attempt in order to maintain the communal peace in Bengal which would be threatened otherwise,” Barkati said.
He also said that if the Narendra Modi government was so concerned about keeping people healthy, it should consider making it compulsory for all Muslim employees and students to say Namaz on time. “Namaz has all the goodness of any exercise in the world,” he said.
Siddiqullah Chowdhury, prominent Muslim leader and general secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, however, echoed what Jamiat leader Maulana Mahmood Madani had said on Saturday.
“Yoga, as long as it is done (made compulsory) keeping health in mind, is good. But if it is joined with a Surya Namaskar and facing the sun, we will definitely oppose it as it will be an attack on our religion which does not tell to bow down before anyone but the Almighty. Surya Namaskar is holding the sun equal to god, which is prohibited in our religion,” Chowdhury said.