Indian Muslim cricketer under fire for showing off yoga moves on Twitter

Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif has come under fire for showing off his yoga moves on Twitter, just because he is a Muslim.

The 36-year-old posted pictures of himself on the social media site on Dec 31 practising the Suryanamaskar, or sun salutation, a core yoga sequence. He praised the sequence as "a complete workout" which did not require equipment.

But he was swiftly criticised by fellow Muslims for claimed practising yoga was sacrilegious. Last year, the ancient practice of yoga also attracted contoversy after Muslims objected to a proposal to make the sun salutation practice compulsory in Mumbai's civic schools.

They argued that Islam forbids a Muslim to bow before anyone except Allah. The sun salutation sequence requires a practitioner to bow to the sun.

Critics also said the move was part of the "saffron agenda" pushed by right-wing Hindu nationalist organisations such as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Just days ago, another Indian Muslim cricketer, Mohammed Shami, was chastised after he posted pictures of his family on Facebook showing his wife in a sleeveless dress.

Kaif responded to his critics on Twitter on the same day, saying that he had "Allah in my heart" while he was practising yoga. He said he could not understand why any form of exercise should have to be mixed up with religion.

"It benefits all," he wrote.