Backlash for feeding stray dog

Written by: MT Reader | 26 Dec 2018 13:24
Written by:
26 Dec 2018 13:24

In a letter to The Star, a man writes about how some animals are considered to be too "sensitive" and how important it is for all races in the country to be respectful and understanding of each other.

The letter reads as follows:

LAST month, a Muslim friend of mine received some extreme backlash in her Instagram feed for uploading a video of herself petting and feeding a stray dog. Her act of empathising with the dog was seen as immoral and in opposition to the rules of Islam.

I have to ask: Do the majority of Malaysian Muslims really think dogs are harmful?

Earlier this year, the Chinese community in Malaysia, in celebrating their New Year and the Year of the Dog, had to compromise in their festivities by not using any dog-related decorations in public in case it disrespected Muslims.

Selfish and intolerant. That is what I say to people who don’t respect the cultures and rights of other races.
I don’t mean to be racist, but there is always room for tolerance in areas that don’t affect any religion. So I am writing this letter for those who are sceptical about dogs.

Traditionally, Islam warns Muslims not to have contact with dogs. Unfortunately, many Muslims use this view to justify the abuse and neglect of dogs, even though animal cruelty is contradicting the Quran, which says all animal forms are communities like us humans.

Let me clarify one famed myth among Muslims regarding dogs: It is not wrong to own a dog. Muslims can actually touch dogs, too. If the saliva of a dog or any of its wet parts touches you or any part of your clothing, then you have to wash with sertu, an Islamic cleansing procedure. After that, you are considered clean.

Dogs have never actually been illegal. They are used globally to help humans in many ways. Protecting homes, sniffing out drugs and bombs, and relieving stress are just some of the many reasons why dogs should be taken care of and should never suffer neglect or abuse.

Furthermore, it is incumbent upon all Muslims who own animals, including dogs, whether for farming or work purposes, to provide adequate shelter, food, water and veterinary care for their animals. Animal abuse is forbidden in Islam.

Each year, some animals are considered too “sensitive” to be used in public decor in Malaysia, supposedly to respect Muslim sensitivities.

Yet, while Muslims are banning dogs and pigs in public decorations, Hindus have to struggle during the season of Eid when Muslims slaughter cows – which they consider holy – in public.

Any religion’s beliefs should be respected but should never be used as license to assume and misjudge for the sake of our own priorities.

Remember when Auntie Anne’s pretzel dog had to be renamed pretzel sausage because some claimed the name would spark confusion among Malaysian Muslims? I believe we are actually better than such abnormal controversies.

Malaysia is a multiracial country. While Muslims are defending Islamic beliefs and rules, there are much bigger issues that need to be taken care of rather than focusing on making other religions, cultures and traditions taboo.

With more consideration and mutual understanding, we can live better, together.

Saiful Azwan Mohd Razis
Sungai Petani, Kedah

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