The Islamic Ministry has denied sending a letter to the Police regarding the International Yoga Day Activities planned by the Youth Ministry in collaboration with the Indian High Commission in the Maldives.
The Ministry's denial came after the Youth Ministry issued a statement saying that no government agency had shared its reservations about the Yoga Day activities prior to the event that sparked controversy and attracted a crowd of zealous youth who eventually barged into the Galolhu National Stadium where the event was being held last week.
The Youth Ministry issued the statement after a letter by the Islamic Ministry addressed to the Commissioner of Police was leaked. In the leaked letter, the Islamic Ministry had said that Yoga was prohibited in Islam and had asked the Commissioner to halt any activities that would promote Yoga in the country.
In a statement today, the Islamic Ministry said that the leaked letter was not sent to the Police in relation to the Yoga Day activities, and the Fatwa quoted in the leaked letter goes against the procedural guidelines for such matters.
The Ministry also said that it would publish the ruling on Yoga by the country's top fatwa committee once it agrees on a decision.
In the leaked letter, the Ministry had pointed out that as per the Constitution of the Maldives, Islam is the country's religion and that it is the state's responsibility to maintain the country's religious unity, freedom, and sovereignty.
In the letter, the Islamic Ministry also said that in 2004 the Egyptian Fatwa Committee had ruled that Yoga was prohibited in Islam and had said that the ruling was based on the fact that Yoga was closely related to the Hindu religion.
It also highlighted that in 2008, a Malaysian Fatwa Committee had also ruled against Yoga and further said that it was prohibited as a sport as well as a leisure activity.