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1 October, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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KSA embraces yoga in pivot towards 'moderation'

AFP

In a sparse, wood-floored studio, Saudi women squat, lunge and do headstands. Even a year ago, teaching these yoga postures could have rendered them outlaws in the conservative Islamic kingdom, reports AFP from Jeddah.

Widely perceived as a Hindu spiritual practice, yoga was not officially permitted for decades in Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam where all non-Muslim worship is banned.

But with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vowing an "open, moderate Islam", the kingdom last November recognised yoga as a sport amid a new liberalisation drive that has sidelined religious hardliners.

Spearheading efforts to normalise yoga in the kingdom is Nouf Marwaai, a Saudi woman who has battled insults and threats from extremists to challenge the notion that yoga is incompatible with Islam.

"I have been harassed, (and) sent a lot of hate messages," said the 38-year-old head of the Arab Yoga Foundation, which has trained hundreds of yoga instructors in the kingdom.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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