This is a message we sent to a Muslim yoga practitioner who is concern about the terms of our business license about we are not allowed to receive any Muslims of any origins for our yoga classes and yoga retreats in Langkawi, Malaysia.
Hi there - hope all is well with you and that you are enjoying married life.
Noticed a few comments about our "situation" on your Twitter page.
We don't think we are being particularly "vocal" about the matter - we are merely obeying the laws of the country we have chosen to live in.
Just to be clear - we are legally obliged to refuse Muslims by the business licensing department in Langkawi. I have attached a copy of the relevant document.
This is not a case of us merely deciding to apply "the fatwa". As you know, a fatwa is not legally binding. However, a business license is legally binding.
It is the last thing we want to cause offense to anyone (whether Muslims who want to learn and practice yoga or the city council).
The gentleman who wrote to us (and to you) seems to have taken it very personally. Even when we explained that this was not about the fatwa, he still insisted that this didn't apply to him since he has been practicing yoga for 4 years (in Malaysia).
There are 1.8 billion Muslims on the planet and unfortunately this document applies to all of them.
Of course Muslims won't be punished if they came to our classes or retreats but if we were to accept Muslims then we would lose our license and would no longer be able to legally teach yoga here and Marc would not be allowed a work permit to teach yoga either.
In the year and a half we have been based here we have had requests from a total of exactly 4 Muslims (including you) to attend classes or retreats. we have explained the situation as clearly as possible to each of them.
We still want to be able to teach yoga in Langkawi to all other people who are non-Muslim. As stated in the license - if we fail to respect the terms of our business license then our license will be cancelled.
Hope that everything is going well for you and that you are keeping up your yoga practice and improving your French.
Take care and all the best.
Marc and Meng Foong
May all Muslims who are offended by this term in our business license please accept our apologies for this "ridiculous" situation.
For us, yoga is for all without any discrimination. We do not have any intention to refuse any Muslims of any race. Teaching yoga also is nothing to do with business license actually. Yoga is not a business and should not be limited by any "laws" or "terms". Just like Buddhism Dhamma is for all beings, but in Malaysia all Dhamma books must have a printed notice stating "FOR NON-MUSLIMS ONLY". And meditation retreat centres in Malaysia also have to refuse Muslim's participants. We were also "told" to put up a sign in front of our studio, stating "FOR NON-MUSLIMS ONLY".
Peace and light to all of you.
Yoga is unlimited, unconditioned. It's already within everyone regardless of our race, sex, culture, religion, good or bad behavior. Yoga is every moment in our heart in our life experience, and it's not just limited to a yoga class doing some yoga exercises. Yoga is in life, how we deal with our own mind, our own ego, and it's about non-attachment and how to become selfless and compassionate. Everyone and anyone can practice yoga at anytime, anywhere. Yoga is not only to be found in a yoga studio that is limited by some local authority with terms and conditions...