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Home > News > PTI > Report

No yoga classes, Iraqi cleric tells Sri Sri

Harmeet Shah Singh in Najaf | May 24, 2007 17:08 IST

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A top Shia cleric from Pakistan on Thursday opposed an Indian spiritual leader's proposal for conducting yoga classes in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf, citing religious reasons.

His objections came barely two days after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's warm welcome to Art of Living head Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's plans to hold breathing and meditation sessions in the war-ravaged nation as part of his conflict resolution programme.

"Why this yoga? You can conduct tailoring and computer classes. You can also contribute monetarily," Bashir Hussain al-Najafi, head of one of the world's biggest Shia schools, told the Indian spiritual leader.

Najafi, 67, had migrated to Pakistan from Jalandhar during the partition and has been in Iraq for the past 40 years.

The cleric was the only Shia leader to have objected to Shankar's plans for holding meditation classes while all other religious heads in this holy city welcomed the move to ease stress through traditional Indian methods.

"We may start some computer programmes here but I have my reservations for yoga," Najafi, who heads Hauz-e-Ilmia, remarked.

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