Dogs and humans have evolved together. This is fact. It’s not dog lovers who have come to this conclusion, but rather evolutionary archeologists.
I am aware that buzz on the Internet is sometimes only that, lots of noise about nothing. But according to Gladstone Institute International Policy Council, in places, Muslims are now protesting dogs, calling them unclean and apparently using them as political pawns, with some success.
Dutch Muslim politician has reportedly called for a ban on dogs in The Hague. suggesting Islamic legal tradition holds that dogs are “unclean” animals,
This latest canine controversy — which the dog loving Dutch public has greeted with a mix of amusement and outrage — follows dozens of other Muslim-vs-dog-related incidents in Europe. Critics say it reflects the growing assertiveness of Muslims in Europe as they attempt to impose Islamic legal and religious norms on European society. And perhaps, doing so to gain further power, and a stronger and more significant voice – and in truth, having little to do with dogs as much as politics.
The Dutch dustup erupted after Hasan Küçük, a Turkish-Dutch representative ondogs The Hague city council for the Islam Democrats, vehemently opposed a proposal by the Party for the Animals (Partij voor de Dieren) to make the city more dog friendly.
Experts on the Koran that I have spoken to suggest the idea of dogs as “dirty” is more cultural than legal or religious. I don’t claim to be an expert on the Koran, so all I can do is listen to those who are experts.
What I do know is that when dogs are well-kept, dogs are not dirty. For decades various nations (including most in Western Europe, some in Eastern Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan) consider their dogs family, and share their homes, even their beds. Not only hasn’t health suffered – it turns out that living with dogs is healthful. In other words, sharing space and time with dogs is beneficial to health, the opposite of the Muslim contentions. It should be noted though that these generalizations are just that – plenty of Muslims live with dogs and consider them to be family, even if they don’t share their beds, and some do share their beds.
Paul ter Linden, who represents the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) on The Hague city council, responded to Küçük by saying: “In this country pet ownership is legal. Whoever disagrees with this should move to another country.”
Dutch political commentators believe Küçük’s declarations are a provocation designed to stir up the Muslim population in The Hague. Muslims — who now make up more than 12% of the city’s population of 500,000 — view dogs as ritually unclean animals and Küçük’s call for a ban on them is a sure vote-getter.
The incident in Holland follows dog-related controversies in other European countries.
In Spain, two Islamic groups based in Lérida — a city in the northeastern region of Catalonia where 29,000 Muslims now make up around 20% of the city’s total population — asked local officials to regulate the presence of dogs in public spaces so they do not “offend Muslims.” My view is that while I am sorry if you are offended, but agree “then move to another country.” If the dog demonstrates a threat, that’s another story. And I do favor leash laws being enforced (which they don’t in my experience in Spain), if only for the dogs’ own safety, as well as public safety.
After the municipality refused to acquiesce to Muslim demands, the city experienced a wave of dog poisonings. More than a dozen dogs were poisoned in September 2011 (local media reports here, here, here, here and here) in Lérida’s working class neighborhoods of Cappont and La Bordeta, districts that are heavily populated by Muslim immigrants and where many dogs have been killed over the past several years.
Local residents taking their dogs for walks say they have reportedly been harassed by Muslim immigrants who are opposed to seeing the animals in public. Muslims have also launched a number of anti-dog campaigns on Islamic websites and blogs based in Spain.
In Britain, blind passengers are being ordered off buses or refused taxi rides because Muslim drivers or passengers object to their “unclean” guide dogs. The same happens on U.S. taxis and it is here against Federal law to refuse service, assistance or Guide dogs in taxis or on public transport. And charges could (and should) be filed in such instances by the owners of these dog refused. If taxi drivers have issues or public transport drivers with the fact that dogs may enter their taxis or buses – they should not be driving taxis or buses.
Here are examples from the Galdstone Institute story:
- In Reading, for example, one pensioner, a cancer sufferer, was repeatedly confronted by drivers and asked to get off the bus because of his guide dog. He also faced hostility at a hospital and in a supermarket over the animal.
- In Nottingham, a Muslim taxi driver refused to carry a blind man because he was accompanied by his guide dog. The taxi driver was later fined £300 ($470).
- In Stafford, a Muslim taxi driver refused to carry an elderly blind couple from a grocery store because they were accompanied by their seeing-eye dog.
- In Tunbridge Wells, Kent, a blind man was turned away from an Indian restaurant because the owner said it was against his Muslim beliefs to allow dogs into his establishment.
- In London, a bus driver prevented a woman from boarding a bus with her dog because there was a Muslim lady on the bus who “might be upset by the dog.” As the woman attempted to complain, the doors closed and the bus drove away. When a second bus arrived, she again tried to embark, but was stopped again, this time because the driver said he was Muslim.
Also in Britain, police sniffer dogs trained to spot terrorists at train stations may no longer come into contact with Muslim passengers, following complaints that it was offensive to their religion. Really? If this is true, it doesn’t make sense. Or it does make about as much sense as me claiming I don’t want to go through airport security because the idea “offends me.” I say tough. I want sniffer dogs doing their jobs, which enhances security – making all of us more secure. In fact, experts on the topic suggest there will be more sniffer dogs in a decade with more presence than today, so get used to it!
Sniffer dogs used by police to search mosques and Muslim homes are now being fitted with leather bootees to cover their paws so that they do not cause offense. Hmmm? Really?
Meanwhile, Muslim prisoners in Britain are reportedly being given fresh clothes and bedding after sniffer dogs search their cells. The inmates say their bedclothes and prison uniforms must be changed according to Islamic law if they have come anywhere near dog saliva. Government rules mean prison wardens must hand out replacement sets after random drug searches to avoid religious discrimination claims. The dogs have also been banned from touching copies of the Islamic holy book the Koran and other religious items. Prisoners are handed special bags to protect the articles. I say that is an absolute waste of taxpayer dollars. If they’re so concerned, stay out of jail.
- In Scotland, the Tayside Police Department apologized for featuring a German shepherd puppy as part of a campaign to publicize its new non-emergency telephone number. The postcards are potentially offensive to the city’s 3,000-strong Muslim community.
- In Norway, Gry Berg, a blind woman, was denied entry into four taxis in the center of Oslo because she was accompanied by her guide dog.
- In France, Marie Laforêt, one of the country’s most well-known singers and actresses, appeared in a Paris courtroom in December to defend herself against charges that a job advertisement she placed discriminated against Muslims.
All this demonstrates that human beings may be the most intelligent beings on the planet, which increasingly is why I am so concerned about the future of the planet.