Sunday, April 3, 2011
To most Malaysians, the popular Poco Poco dance is a harmless dance and nothing else differentiate it with other normal dances.
However Harussani Zakaria thinks otherwise.
Harussani Zakaria, mufti of the northern Malaysian state of Perak has said the "poco-poco" dance violated Islamic law as it was a "cult dance," whose "moves reflect the making of a cross and so is unacceptable in Islam."
As a result of this, the head of Malaysia's Islamic Development Department, which sets national level Islamic policies, said a National Fatwa Council will be convened on April 20, 2011 to rule on the issue, the New Straits Times, Malaysia's tio English language newspaper reported.
"I hope other state muftis will be patient and wait for the meeting," Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz told the paper.
"If any of the states have concluded its findings on the matter, I invite them to share it with us," he added. A department official confirmed the remarks but declined further comment.
In Malaysia, many adults use the dance to keep fit and some Islamic thinkers say it should not be banned if it is done solely for health reasons.
The origin of poco-poco is unclear but many trace it to Indonesia more than 20 years ago to accompany a song of the same name.
It is also a Jamaican word which relates to a wild dance under the possession of spirits.
Harussani said the dance originated in Jamaica and is also practised in the Philippines and parts of Indonesia which have a Christian majority.
The Poco Poco is popular in Europe too, as demonstrated by the Folkuniversitetet dancing class students in Linkoping - Sweden.
Malaysia's population is dominated by Muslim Malays, and the ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities are becoming increasingly concerned over rising "Islamisation" of the multicultural country.
In 2008, Malaysia's highest Islamic body, the National Fatwa Council, banned yoga for Muslims, saying it could erode their faith.
But the decision triggered uproar from moderate Muslims, prompting then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to wade into the row, saying Muslims could do yoga as long as it had no Hindu spiritual elements.