A Lebanese priest is waging jihad against yoga. Father Marwan Khoury wrote an article for Arabic daily Aljoumhouriya, arguing that yoga is a form of devil worship.
Lebanon is struggling with economic, environmental and security problems. There has been no regular trash collection in Beirut for the past eight months. The presidency has been vacant since May of 2013, as the country’s law makers struggle to come to a consensus.
But despite the severity of the issues, media and the state have been concerned about the alleged rise of Satanism in the country. A heavy metal concert was cancelled late last year, as organizers were baselessly accused of promoting Satanist rituals.
Security forces seized the sculptures of activist and artist Michel Elefteriades on suspicions of Satanism because some of his work featured horned creatures.
And as the people remain without basic services, including adequate policing and electricity, Father Khoury wants to reform society by demonizing and banning yoga.
According to Khoury, Yoga provides deceitful comfort that leads to demonic possession.
The priest says meditation in yoga turns evil when those who practice it recite phrases associated with the devil. He adds that those phrases are capable of allowing people to rise off the floor, defying gravity.
“What is that power that lifts you off the ground?” asks Khoury. “Of course it is an evil power.”
Khoury’s accusations have already made a tangible impact. A man who was accused of Satanism was asked by the police if he practices yoga.
Outraged activists mocked Khoury and the Lebanese media.
“I’ve never heard (Father) Marwan Khoury nag about the corruption in our country, nor have i heard him complain about the the thousands of illnesses caused by the garbage,” commented one Facebook user. “I’ve never seen one priest nor a sheikh help someone find a job or help him pay his bills in a rotten society blinded by greed and lust for power, dominion and wealth.”