Thursday, September 25, 2008

A dog in a mosque?

Sep 25, 2008

Guide dog allowed in mosque
Ruling by Muslim body hailed as a breakthrough

LONDON - A BRITISH Muslim body has ruled that a blind student can take a guide dog with him to his local mosque, a judgment Muslim and blind advocacy groups are hailing as a breakthrough.

The Muslim Law Council (Shariah) UK issued a fatwa allowing 18-year-old Mahomed-Abraar Khatri to take his dog with him to the Bilal Jamia Mosque in the English city of Leicester, about 160km north of London.

'I hope it will open up some doors and let other people to get a dog and not be worried of any religious aspects behind it,' Mr Khatri told British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.

Observant Muslims generally regard dogs as unclean and they are not allowed in mosques. It was not immediately clear whether this was the first time a dog has been allowed in a British mosque, or whether the move had any precedent elsewhere.

Mr Ahmed Rehab, a spokesman for the US-based Council on American Islamic Relations, said he had never heard of any similar incident in the United States.

The fatwa does not allow the dog into the prayer hall itself. Instead, Mr Khatri can leave it in a gated area in the entryway near where the shoes are kept.

BBC television footage showed Mr Khatri ushering his yellow Labrador, Vargo, into the enclosure.

The Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella group of UK Muslim organisations, said it was pleased with the ruling.

'The scholars who have deliberated this ruling have explored the issue from all angles and we are delighted with their fatwa,' MCB Assistant Secretary-General Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra said.

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association described the decision as 'a massive step forward for other blind and partially sighted Muslims'. -- AP



Chinky said...

This is a good news on the flexibility of any religion! Will this courage be seen here?
Many Muslims are so conditioned to be afraid of dogs from young. It is a phobia that is hard to eradicate.

Anonymous said...

In fact some Malays I spoke to confirmed that their teachings are opened to different interpretations. What my friends said is this: if anyone wants to touch the fur and play with the dog, please carry on. But do not touch the eyes and the perpetually wet nose.

And the fact of the possibility of kena rabies when bitten by dogs. So some conservative ones think why not ban dogs altogether? Why allow flexibility when there would be much confusion ensued?

Same goes for other supposedly haram things.

The Letter B