The Indonesian island of Bali recently held a week-long yoga festival to promote “spiritual tourism” on the island, bringing people of various ethnic and religious groups together to practice this traditionally Hindu form of meditation, chanting, and exercise. Indonesia’s Islamic Ulema Council issued a fatwa ordering all Muslims to stop participating in yoga, stating that the religious elements of yoga could weaken their faith. While Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, the island of Bali is primarily Hindu. This recent confrontation regarding yoga is not the first conflict between Balinese Hindus and the Indonesian Muslim majority. Many Balinese people protested the Ulema Council’s recent rules on pornography, which, if enforced, could have precluded traditional Balinese dress and dance. Despite the fatwa, Balinese Muslims, Hindus, and others peacefully participated in the yoga festival, focusing on the universal benefits of yoga practice. Read the full story here.
Controlling the Body: Muslim Feminists Debating Women’s Rights in Indonesia
By Pieternella van Doorn-Harder , Valparaiso University
(Vol. 3, October 2008)
Teaching & Learning Guide for: The Social Ethic of Religiously Unaffiliated Spirituality
By Siobhan Chandler, Wilfrid Laurier University
(Religion Compass 2008, March 2008)