Permits issued to two sheikhs withheld following Yoga Day clash

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs has withheld the permits issued to Sheikh Adam Nishan bin Ali Adam and Sheikh Fazloon Mohamed.

Both sheikhs were arrested earlier on Wednesday in connection to the storming of a yoga event held at Galolhu Stadium on Tuesday. The yoga event began on Tuesday amid threats on social media not to hold the event. The event organized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs, the Indian High Commission in the Maldives, and the Indian Cultural Centre was first planned to be held at the Rasfannu beach. However, the City Council did not grant permission to hold the event, and it was later moved to Galolhu Stadium.

Shortly after the event kicked off at 6:30 am on Tuesday, a group entered the stadium and shouted at the crowd to leave the stadium. Some of them physically hit event participants and threw food from the breakfast buffet set up at the event. The participants left the stadium in fear.

A statement issued by the ministry said Sheikh Nishan and Fazloon's permits to give religious Fatwas were withheld after they breached security at a yoga event held at Galolhu Stadium on Monday and caused damage to state property. The ministry further said the scholars had organized and led the storming of the yoga event attended by cabinet ministers, state dignitaries, diplomats, and representatives from allied countries, and international organizations, and participants were attacked.

Both scholars were involved in Monday's protest. The Sheikhs also addressed the protesters at the event. However, the protesters said the Sheikhs did not participate in the clashes.

Sheikh Nishan was arrested near Rehendhi flat on Wednesday night. A large police team arrested the Sheikh while he was going to Isha prayers with his young son.

Yoga is a contradictory issue for Muslims, with many viewing it as against Islam. There are differences of opinion among contemporary scholars on the ruling on practicing yoga.