In Toronto, Canada there was an Al-Quds(Jerusalem) Day Rally, a yearly event protesting Zionism and the occupation of Jerusalem by Israel, an event that had its genesis in Iran in 1979. The rallies are controversial particularly for the way in which Iran has instrumentalized them. At this year’s rally in Toronto a man by the name of Allan Einstoss was counter-protesting Al-Quds Day accompanied by his dog, an English mastiff named “Cupcake,” he was arrested for assaulting a participant at the Al-Quds Day rally. Einstoss claims that he was punched and that his dog was kicked, police did not seem to buy his story and arrested him.
Einstoss’ supporters were angered by his arrest and by his claim that his dog was supposedly “kicked.” According to the Toronto Sun, in response, a group called Hindu Canadian Advocacy, (a group with two known members, Ron Banerjee and Dharminder Kumar, who both maybe one in the same person) are organizing on Facebook a “walk your dog in front of the mosque day,” to be held on September 14th, in front of the Salahuddin Mosque on 741 Kennedy Road, between 4:30pm and 7:30pm (h/t: HW). This is how Dharminder Kumar of Hindu Canadian Advocacy describes the event,
On September 14th, 2012, in response to the Muslim kicking of the dog at al Quds Day, everyone is asked to bring your dog and walk in front of the radical Salahuddin Mosque in Scarborough Ontario. Our CANADIAN VALUES Dog Walk will correspond with Islamic prayer times. We will be holding this event in conjunction with Canadian Hindu Advocacy.
The FB page currently has 235 members who are going, 100 maybes and a further 2,969 who are invited.
It goes without saying that the page is filled with anti-Muslim mania and hateful Islamophobia. Pictures extolling the Crusades and the need to rekindle them, praise for Anders Breivik and his actions, calls to nuke and destroy Mecca, White Supremacist advertising of the event, and demonization of Muslims and Islam literally litter the page:
The organizer of the event Dharminder Kumar praises the anti-Muslim pogroms of 2002 in Gujrat, where thousands of Muslims were slaughtered, hacked to death, burned alive, and raped:
Storm Walker wants to raise a Crusade:
Wherever there is Crusade talk, calls to Burn the Quran won’t be far away:
Hardy Weinberg exposed the fact that White supremacists at Stormfront are discussing the “dog protest” and plan on attending:
Doug E. Fresh gleefully reproduces Anders Breivik’s tearful court appearance “That’s when I ran out of bullets“:
Rui Taher replies to Fresh, says the West will cry for more Breivik’s and links to a White supremacist website. Doug E. Fresh wants nukes to be launched:
An enthusiastic dog-walker by the name of Vlad Tepes Jr., recalling Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) writes,
Peter Peterson, wants to kick Muslims out of the West and back to “Mecca”:
Recalling the “Mahound” characterization of Prophet Muhammad by European lore, Peter Peterson imagines Prophet Muhammad as a demon:
In case anyone has any misconception about “Fresh’s” intent, he produces this “Muhammed is a pedo” meme:
Rui Taher calls Islam and Muslims “shit religion and shit culture” because he believes they hate dogs:
This is not the first time that a “walk your dog” protest has been held in front of a mosque in the mistaken belief that Muslims “hate dogs” and will be so frightened or provoked by the presence of a dog that they will “self-destruct.” In August of 2010, at the height of nationwide mosque hysteria in the USA, the Temecula Islamic Center was the scene of Islamophobic protesters who brought their dogs with them to protest Friday prayers; according to the Islamophobic protesters “Muslims hate dogs and America.”
Of course it is patently ridiculous that “Muslims hate dogs,” almost too ridiculous to respond to. The website Muslims with Dogs displays pictures of Muslims from around the globe with their beloved fuzzy four legged buddies (I ask everyone to send them pics if they are Muslims and have dogs). I myself am reminded of a Palestinan Muslim friend and his grandfather, a shepherd in the West Bank whose most trusted companion was his dog. I recall how when his dog died, he was deeply forlorn, distraught and sad, and it makes me reflect on how mistaken and misbegotten these hate-mongers are.
Yes, some Muslims may hate dogs, as much as some Christians and Jews and Atheists may hate dogs. The claim that Muslims have some sort of special and “unique” animosity to “man’s best friend” is just another attempt at demonization and essentialization. Most cultures that can be called “Muslim” do not have a dog culture akin to what is seen in the West, and for anyone who has seen “One Nation Under Dog” can we say that is necessarily a bad thing?
Aside from “Muslim cultures” what does Islam have to say about dogs? Does it hold them to be demons as the Islamophobes make out? The answer is an obvious no.
Traditional Islam generally prohibits Muslims from keeping dogs as pets, mostly to do with the fact that the saliva of a dog invalidates a Muslim’s ablution (though the Maliki school of jurisprudence disagrees with this). Muslims are allowed of course to keep dogs if they are farmers and shepherds, also permitted are guard dogs, hunting dogs and guide dogs (interestingly medieval Baghdad Muslim scholars were the first to note the possible utility of guide dogs).
The fact that traditionally Orthodox Islam did not allow Muslims to keep dogs as pets did not mean however that Muslims were encouraged to be cruel to dogs as Islamophobes would have it. In fact, the opposite is true, Islamic tradition encourages compassion and care be meted out to all of God’s creatures, including dogs! In a famous hadith (narration), the Prophet Muhammad related the story of a prostitute who was forgiven her inequities because she gave water to a thirsty, dying dog,
A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that. (Bukhari, 4.55.538)
Strange isn’t it? If Islam was so opposed to dogs wouldn’t Prophet Muhammad have condemned this woman, instead of highlighting her deed as virtuous and righteous? The Grand Mufti of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ali Gomma spoke about this very hadith and how it was the inspiration for, and reason why for centuries in Old Cairo the religious authorities put into place a special endowment for the upkeep of watering fountains specifically for dogs!
The Muslims used the concept of continuous charity and charitable endowments to have mercy not only on other human beings but others from the creation whether it be animals or whether they be plants…In the old archives of the endowment documents we found a document entitled “The Endowment of Mercy”…when Muhammad Bey Abu Dhahhab built and established his mosque in Cairo he placed around the minarets large containers full of seeds so that birds in the environs of the mosque could come and feed. In every street in Cairo there would be what is called “The drinking places for dogs,” they would be small bowls along the street that passing dogs could drink from because the Prophet told us that there was a woman who entered hell because of a cat that she had imprisoned and denied food to and another woman entered paradise because of a dog she found who was thirsty and who she gave drink to…
For anyone who has read and is familiar with the Qur’an there is in the 18th Chapter (“The Cave“), the story of the Companions of the Cave. The Companions of the Cave were a group of persecuted believers who fled their city because of the tyranny meted out against those who believed in “One God.” They sought refuge in a cave on the outskirts of the city where they fell asleep. According to the Qur’anic narrative they were made to sleep for over 300 years. Amongst their number was a dog.
There is an oft cited claim that the Prophet Muhammad ordered all the black dogs of Medina be culled because they were “evil” and or “devils” in the form of animals. Traditional Islamic scholars and scholars today are of the consensus that such reports are fabricated, and are actually related to pre-Islamic Arab mythology.
According to a generally unaccepted Sunni tradition attributed to Muhammad, black dogs are evil, or even devils, in animal form. This report reflects the pre-Islamic Arab mythology and the vast majority of Ulema (Muslim jurists) viewed it to be falsely attributed to Muhammad.
While there was an enormous amount of negativity and hatred on the “Walk your dog in front of the mosque day” Facebook page there was also a lot of positive feedback.
Jacob Pollack summed up the event quite succinctly and registered his disgust at this happening in Canada:
Kyle T. Murphy also registered his disgust at the event and the usage of dogs as political tools:
Donald Henshaw also hit it on the money, these individuals want to “inflame tensions with the Muslim community”:
and Angad Deengar spoke out at the groups usage of “Hinduism,” saying that he is quite sure most Hindus would not advocate this anti-Mosque protest:
These individuals and the many like them give me hope. The anti-Loons and pro-Freedom advocates, who make up the majority of Canada outnumber the bigots intent on fear-mongering. This is why solidarity work across ethnic and religious lines to combat Islamophobia is vital.
Perhaps once Islamophobes recognize that Muslims won’t boil over and melt at the mere presence of Fido they will change their “dog protest” tactics but until then the ignorant will likely continue to remain ignorant. For the hardcore who are bent on intimidating Muslims, they likely wish they could go back to the good ‘ole days when they weren’t just protesting with their dogs but could actually sic their dogs on those they despised, hated and feared.