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Iran cleric discourages dogs as pets

Dogs are “unclean” and should not be kept as pets, a senior Iranian cleric has decreed.

Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi issued the fatwa, or religious ruling, to send a message that the trend toward “western-style” pet ownership must stop, Reuters reported.

Dogs are considered “unclean” under Islam and have traditionally not been kept as pets — although there are signs that is changing.

“Friendship with dogs is a blind imitation of the West,” the cleric was quoted as saying in Javan daily. “There are lots of people in the West who love their dogs more than their wives and children.”

Guard dogs and sheep dogs are considered acceptable under Islamic law but Iranians who carry dogs in their cars or take them to public parks can be stopped by police and fined.

The Koran does not explicitly prohibit contact with dogs, Shirazi said, but Islamic tradition showed it to be so. “We have lots of narrations in Islam that say dogs are unclean.”


Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time June 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I would suggest that the Grand Ayatollah get in touch with some of the traditionally nomadic Bedouin people over on the Arabian Peninsula who prize their gazelle-hunting Saluki (or Sloughi) almost as much as they do their beautiful horses. Or he could cruise on over to Africa to observe some of the traditional lion-hunting dogs; even in Islamic areas they’re highly regarded. The traditional Muslim attitude towards dogs doesn’t much resemble our Western ideas. But whether they herd, guard, hunt to provide food, or hunt to chase away predators, dogs have a place in the Islamic world as they do everywhere else. I believe the Prophet Muhammad was fond of cats.

Comment from BeckyH
Time June 21, 2010 at 3:16 pm

I find that whole “dogs are unclean” thing to be very annoying. I’m not sure why it bugs me so, but it does.