Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Brit Puppy Offends Muslims - Outrage Over Police Insult

I'd assume that this is a joke, but the issue has come up before.

(from Mail, used w/o permission)

Tayside's Islamic community is outraged by this obvious insult.

That's right: It's the puppy. That awful, horrible, offensive, unclean puppy.

I'm not surprised, not at this point. Muslim cab drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, here in Minnesota, refused to let people with guide dogs or booze into their cabs.

The Muslims had a good reason. The Islamic cab drivers "refused to transport their guide dogs because Muslims consider the saliva of dogs unclean." And, it looks like there's a difference of opinion here. "A well-known St. Paul imam, Hassan Mohamud,1 called that a misinterpretation of Islam and said it shouldn't be a problem." ("Taxi proposal gets sharp response" Star Tribune (February 27, 2007))

I can see the Islamic response to dog drool. It's far from the most attractive substance around.

On the other hand, Muslims who decide that dog drool, and the dogs that make it, are "unclean" reminds me very strongly of members of those Protestant sects who are convinced that accordions, alcohol and/or tobacco, slacks on women, and wine glasses are the work of the devil.

The difference is that, these days at least, members of outfits with names like 'First Church of the Hallelujah Few' aren't taken very seriously. Muslims who are offended by puppies are.

There's more detail about the Tayside imbroglio at "Muslims outraged at police advert featuring cute puppy sitting in policeman's hat" (MailOnline (July 1, 2008)).

What concerns me is the way so many Muslims react to images and events:

(from Mail, used w/o permission)
Unclean! Unclean!
How Dare You Offend Us This Way!

(NY WTC, unknown source)
Hail the Martyrs!

I think that imam Hassan Mohamudhas has some truth on his side. Many people in western countries who aren't Muslims have developed a distinctly watchful attitude toward their Islamic neighbors. Sometimes that watchfulness turns to hostility. And, in my opinion, that sort of unthinking hostility isn't a good idea.

On the other hand, the Minneapolis dog drool incidents, and the Tayside puppy protest, do little or nothing to popularize the idea that Muslims are able to deal with Information Age societies. I'm glad that imam Mohamudhas said that rejecting people with guide dogs was a "misinterpretation" of Islamic teaching.

I'd like to believe that Islam can exist in today's world. But Islamic reaction to that cute puppy makes me wonder.
1 Hassan Mohamudhas written a book, "Scapegoats in the War on Terror," which seems to bring up some good points. On the other hand, he seems to be very close to saying that Muslims are victims of oppression. Here's an excerpt from a piece on NPR, pushing his book:

"...The community is feeling a high level of scrutiny. Many of the people who give lectures at the mosque have quit. Even if they aren't saying anything against the government—just speaking about Islam, it looks like a crime. It draws attention to them," Mohamud explained. "How can a lot of people live in this fear from society? If I doubt and I fear my neighbor, it's not a healthy society...."

Related posts, on Islam, Christianity, Religion, Culture and the War on Terror.


Anonymous said...

Last day , i heard danish minister (who insulted islam ) got away with his charges. Today i am hearing this. Let god bless people with some patience

Brian H. Gill said...

webdesign brno,



My guess is that you regard the Muslims who are offended - this time by a cute puppy - as having 'some patience.'

Sorry. But I'm with imam Hassan Mohamudhas on this one.

'Islam is against dog drool' is almost probably a misinterpretation of the teachings of Islam.

If Islam is, in fact, one of those religions that really does make it impossible for its followers to live in a world where they'll meet people who aren't exactly like themselves: Muslims are in for a lot of trouble.

Brian H. Gill said...

webdesign brno,

I missed the most important point in your comment.

Yes, indeed: 'Let God bless people with some patience.'

We're all going to need it.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.