Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on 15 November welcomed Saudi Arabia's decision of listing Yoga under sports activities, and said that the Muslim clerics of India continued to remain conservative even as the Islamic world was progressing.
"Muslim clerics here are all so conservative; the whole Islamic world is moving towards modernisation, but these people are still living in the 11th century," Swamy told ANI.
Reasoning that Yoga was scientific, and had got nothing to do with religion, Swamy further backed it with the example of 'Surya Namaskar'.
"Sun is a planet, Hindus may call it god, but you can call it Surya planet," Swamy said.
A Muslim cleric, Maulana Sajid Rashidi has also welcomed the move, saying that health should not be related to any particular religion. He also said that Yoga was never prohibited in Islam.
The Saudi Ministry of Trade and Industry approved Yoga under "sports activities" and allowed Saudi citizens to practice it on issuance of licence from the government.
Nouf Marwaai, a Riyadh-based Yoga expert, who dedicated herself to promote Yoga in the Gulf region, confirmed that the Saudi Ministry had listed Yoga under its sports category.