A woman who went to a public park to walk her dog in the city of Canakkale, Turkey was attacked by three women with Islamic headscarves.
According to an article in the local newspaper, Canakkale Olay, the woman, identified as A.K., was walking her dog in a municipal park in the Barbaros neighborhood when she was approached by a woman with a hijab in her late 30s who said to her, “This building complex and the park is ours. You cannot walk your dog here, it is a sin.”
The woman allegedly also said to the dog keeper, “Are you a kafir [infidel]? You are playing with a dog. Isn’t that a sin?”
Two other women with headscarves joined in and it quickly turned into a physical attack. The attackers allegedly smashed A.K.’s head on the stones in the park and hit her in the head with a marble block. Luckily, some passersby were able to restrain the attackers and save A.K.
Later, when A.K. said she would call the police, one of the attackers countered by saying that her husband is a prosecutor and the police would do nothing.
A.K. managed to make it to a local hospital for treatment and received a medical report proving the battering. A number of relatives of the attackers followed A.K. to the hospital and threatened her saying, “Only your dead body will be able to leave this hospital.”
A.K. then went to a police station and filed a complaint against the attackers.
This is not the first incidence in Canakkale against “man’s best friend.” On February 3, the Turkish newspaper Sabah reported that “an animal massacre” took place in the city.
“Many cats and dogs in several neighborhoods across Canakkale were poisoned to death after eating pieces of meat that had been injected with high doses of pesticides and scattered throughout the streets in the city,” the newspaper stated.
Many similar incidents against dogs and their owners have been recorded across majority-Muslim countries, some of which take legal action against dog owners.
For example, under a law passed in 2014 by the Iranian government, owning a dog in Iran can result in 74 lashes.
In Malaysia, Muslim clerics voiced their outrage after event was held in a park called “I want to touch a dog,” challenging the stigma around the animal. The organizer of the event was forced into hiding after receiving death threats.
Social media is filled with videos of how dogs are murdered, beaten or abused in many areas across Muslim-majority countries.
Given how loyal, dependable and self-sacrificing dogs are, violence against them is completely irrational.
In order to understand this hostile attitude, one needs to examine the Islamic theological foundations that promote a dislike of and brutality toward the animal. According to certain hadiths — words and deeds attributed to Islam’s founder, Mohammed — dogs are considered “impure,” “unclean” and “evil.” Killing them is encouraged in hadith 3811 and hadith 551.
Several Islamic websites also clarify the Islamic stance against dogs. For example, according to the Islamic website Albalagh, “‘Angels do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or an animate picture’ (Sahih Bukhari Hadith 2986). In the light of these Ahaadith and other narrations it is not permissible to keep dogs as pets. The household is deprived of the Mercy of Allah Taãla.”
The website Islam Q&A states, “With regard to keeping dogs, this is haraam [forbidden] and is in fact a major sin,” because, “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever keeps a dog, a qiraat from his good deeds will be deducted every day, except a dog for farming or herding livestock’. It is said that the kaafirs [infidels], Jews, Christians and communists in the east and the west all keep dogs, Allaah forbid. Each one takes his dog with him and cleans it every day with soap and other cleansing agents. But even if he were to clean it with the water of all the seas in the world and all the soap in the world, it would never become pure! Because its impurity is inherent, and inherent impurity cannot be cleansed except by destroying it and erasing it altogether.”
Unfortunately, similar hostile attitudes against dogs have also been reported in Western countries.
According to several British media outlets, Muslim drivers have forced blind people and their guide dogs off buses because they consider the animals to be “unclean,” and police sniffer dogs trained to spot terrorists at railway stations may no longer come into contact with Muslim passengers after complaints that it is against their religion.
There have also been other cases when blind or disabled people in the UK accompanied by dogs faced Muslim hostility in hospitals and supermarkets or were turned away from restaurants “because the guide dog offended Muslim staff.”
But just as the persecution of women and religious minorities under sharia rule is ignored by many Western feminists and human rights activists, persecution of animals – particularly of dogs – remains ignored by Western animal rights activists.
Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist formerly based in Ankara. She is presently in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/uzayb