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Shia cleric opposes fatwa against Muslim yoga girl


RANCHI, 10 NOV. Maulana Saif Abbas, a prominent Shia cleric, on Thursday jumped into the defence of Rafia Naaz - a Muslim girl who teaches yoga in Jharkhand, but faces threats to her life from the members of her own community.

"What is wrong if some woman teaches yoga?" Shia cleric Maulana Saif Abbas said while referring to the fatwa issued against Naaz. "Protesting this is highly condemnable," he said, adding, "Some people have made religion a joke."

The reactions from the Shia cleric came days after a fatwa was issued against Naaz after which the Jharkhand government decided to provide her adequate security. The fatwa asked Naaz not to teach yoga to anyone.

The matter was brought to the notice of Sanjay Kumar, Principal Secretary to Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, and on his instructions, the police stepped up the security of the girl. Acting on the instructions, Ranchi Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kuldeep Dwivedi even sent a police team to meet the girl. She was later provided two security guards - one male and one female.

A resident of Doranda locality in Ranchi, Rafia Naaz ekes out a living for her family by teaching yoga. She is the eldest of her siblings and also doing M.Com from a local college. Naaz rose to fame after she shared the stage with yoga guru Ramdev in the city some time back. Her family members are scared of threats issued by the members of her own community. Naaz, however, said, "I will continue to do yoga and teach yoga till the end of my life."



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