Yup, those cheerful Mullahs in Tehran are at it again.

GlobalVoices report that dog owners and their companion animals are being arrested for “unIslamic behavior”, and the pets “jailed” under atrocious conditions.

The blogger kamangir posts pictures of the dogs and notes

Clearly, these dogs are not meant to live in the conditions they are being kept, but, anyways, they do not treat human beings anything better.

This is merely the latest part of the crackdown on immoral behavior. Yet the domestic dog has a long and noble history in Persia for hunting, and guard dogs, long before Western civilization even arose.

Much of the prohibition is not Koreanic but based on sayings attributed to Mohammed:

A few detail positive characteristics: their loyalty, for example, or their herding abilities. Thus, dogs used by shepherds or as guard dogs are religiously permitted. But most references denounce dogs as najis, or unclean.

Yet those verses cited in the article are ordinary hygiene laws, to prevent spread of disease.

“When the dog licks the utensil, wash it seven times and rub it with earth the eighth time,” advises one Hadith.

Well, I hope so…or at least use Lysol…

In Tehran, the rules on  dog ownership have been debated on and off since Iran’s Islamic republic was founded in 1979:

There is nothing negative about dogs in the Koran. Most of the restrictions against pets stem from Shia religious rulings accumulated over the decades. Dogs are officially najess, the highest level of dirtiness under Shia doctrine.

Molokpoor and colleagues hastened pet tolerance about four years ago when they asked Ayatollah Fazeli Lankarani to make a religious ruling on whether it was acceptable to keep a dog in the house to warn of strangers approaching. He said it was all right, and Molokpoor publicized the ruling in a veterinary publication.

 The worst ire against dogs in the past has not been against large guard dogs but aimed at eliminating small pets, which are viewed as part of Western decadence:

Little foofie dogs seem to provoke the most ire from authorities. Yet in Islam, everything is open to interpretation. So religious scholars say that if you have a midget dog, such as a Chihuahua, and want to declare it a guard dog, you might get away with it.

As for the Islamic tradition that dogs are unclean, dog owners protest:

So the latest crackdown has more to do with allowing the Mullahs to bully people around than with following God’s laws.

Nadja, whose sick dog was arrested right after it had surgery, considers the clampdown on dogs ridiculous. “One day it’s dogs, the next day it’s [crime prevention], tomorrow they have to catch birds. The police themselves must be laughing at this,” Nadja said.

Another dog owner in Tehran, who did not want to be named, said that instead of detaining dogs, officials should concentrate their efforts on improving the country’s economy and other important issues.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines with five guard dogs, one “foofie dog”, three cats, and a large extended family. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket

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