According to Star Online, The Department of Islamic Development of Malaysia (Jakim) will conduct a thorough investigation on the organising of the “I Want To Touch A Dog” event that took place at Central Park, One Utama near Petaling Jaya on Sunday.
JAKIM director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha said the event should not have taken place and Jakim regretted the irresponsible attitude of the organisers who were not concerned with the sensitivities of Muslims in the country.
He told reporters after officiating the national level religious school principals conference:
This event has never been held previously and is the first time being exposed to the community. We are Muslims and our religion has stated clearly the penalty regarding dogs. Jakim will investigate the matter immediately and any action will be referred to the existing provisions.
He was commenting on the organising of the programme that received overwhelming response from Muslims in and around the federal capital. Netizens and attendees, particularly, have sung praises for the “I Want To Touch A Dog” event. Many even shared photos from the event, thanking the organiser for having made it happen for them.
The event was a hands-on initiative organised by Syed Azmi with the intention of helping Malaysians familiarise themselves with dogs and overcome their fear of dogs. And of course, essentially help erase the negative cultural stigma attached to dogs e.g. dogs are unclean, it’s illegal for Muslims to touch dogs, etc.
According to former Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, dogs are not considered “haram” or forbidden in Islam, in fact Islam gives permission to keep dogs for a valid purpose and such allegations that Muslims should avoid any contact with dogs are deemed to be shallow.
PAS deputy youth chief Muhammad Khalil Abd Hadi (who is the son of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang) on the other hand, says Muslims would be better off campaigning for other things besides “touching a dog”.
He said in a statement:
Instead of campaigning to touch a dog, it would be better if they campaigned about taking care of an orphan. The Prophet Muhammad once said that anyone who strokes the head of an orphan would receive plenty of reward for each strand of hair stroked. Instead of learning about how we should stroke a dog’s back, why not we learn how to cleanse our feet during wudhu (ablution) without taking off the layer of clothing.
Suggesting that the event on Sunday was a way for Malaysians to de-stress from problems such as the fuel hike, Khalil also said that Muslims should first learn how to hold and kiss the Hajar Aswad stone in Kaabah before they thought about how to stroke a dog.
What are your thoughts on this though? Do you think that the backlash from the “I Want To Touch A Dog” event is uncalled for? Do you agree with the necessary/unnecessary condemnation of the event?
Let us know in the comments box below.