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Iran’s Cruelty to Dogs Violates Islam, but Opposes the West

Another massive crackdown in Iran has been uncovered..

This time, the Islamic State brutally murdered 1,700 dogs in a shelter.

Twitter has shared video of some of the aftermath. It was grotesque.

Some of the best information we receive about what is happening inside Iran comes from the expatriate community. Despite the risk and the danger inherent in their communication of unflattering information to their friends and family who have left — escaped — Iran, local Iranians continue to communicate and relay essential information about daily life.

And, like the locals, the Iranian expat community is reeling over this organized attack against the dogs of Iran.

As the community rightly points out, the Islamic leadership of Iran is heartless. They murder and they kill and they use brutality as a means of governance. Iranian leadership, the expats explain, saps the love and pleasure out of life for Iranians.

This massacre of dogs is just another example.

The Jerusalem Post, which has covered this story extensively, quotes one expat who gives context to the behavior of the ruling regime.

Iranian-American journalist and human rights expert Banafsheh Zand is quoted saying: “The [Ali] Khomeinist regime’s main reason for incessant killing and promoting the culture of cruelty to animals is another way of depriving the Iranian people of joy or comfort that animals bring to humans. It’s the old-fashioned irrational methods of control imposed by the authorities in the USSR or the Chinese Communist Party.”

This is not the first time Iran has massacred dogs. In 2019, a similar event took place. During that massacre 1,600 dogs were killed.

It’s an obvious observation: If Iran does not respect human life, why would they respect animal life? Perhaps, you might reason, Islam has a negative approach toward animals. But no, that is not so.

It is hard to conceive of a society where respect for animals is not considered a value. But in Iran, disrespect for animals is the official modus operandi. And it extends beyond stray dogs at shelters. In Tehran, it is illegal to walk a dog in a park.

In Islam, like in Judaism, there is a strong textual value for respect toward animals. The entire process of food preparation is part of that value system.

In order to eat an animal according to Islamic law, that animal must be properly slaughtered. That slaughtering process is called Halal.

Halal is defined as permissible, or lawful, in Islam. While it is similar to the slaughtering process that renders meat kosher, they are not the same.

As a point of interest, Muslims may eat meat that is slaughtered according to kosher standards, but those who only eat kosher cannot eat meat according to Halal standards.

It appears that Muslim leadership in Iran is running afoul of Islamic tradition — not just on dogs, but on all domestic animals.

The Koran mentions dogs several times and clearly permits their ownership. In Sura 5:4 it is written: “Lawful for you are all good things, and [the prey] that trained [hunting] dogs and falcons catch for you.”

Brackets are important in the Koran because the original Arabic does not write “hunting dogs” it just writes “dogs.” The brackets bring tradition and an assumed understanding into the translation. The idea is that trained dogs are permitted. They are not considered “harem” or forbidden.

Today’s leadership in Iran is indicating that both strays and domesticated dogs are a violation of Islam. But are not domesticated dogs trained? That should be a burning question.

Surprisingly, in Islamic works over the centuries there has been very little discussion about this question.

In the little discussion that does exist there is a wide range of views on dogs in Islam. Often, there is a difference between wild dogs and pet dogs, even discussing the saliva of dogs, as to whether it is, or is not, impure.

But there is ample evidence of Muhammed having a positive attitude toward dogs.

There is, for example, the story of Muhammad, who, while traveling with his army to Mecca in 630 CE, posted sentries to ensure that a female dog and her newborn puppies not be disturbed.

Another example is given of Muhammad and many of his cousins ​​and companions praying in the presence of dogs. These were the first Muslims and they owned dogs. During Muhammed’s lifetime, the great mosque in Medina allowed dogs to roam freely. That practice continued for several centuries afterwards.

In Iran today, it is all about power, politics and control.

Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, Islamic leadership has been reshaping and molding Islam to fit their conception, not the other way around. This is just another example.

Owning a pet dog in Iran is a symbol of wealth, a symbol of success — Western success. Murdering dogs is a strong message from the top down—from Iranian leadership to Iranians who are Westernizing and assimilating. Don’t adopt western traditions! That means pets.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded “The Micah Report” and hosts “Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern,” a weekly TV program, and “My Chopp,” a daily radio spot. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. Read Micah Halpern’s Reports—More Here.

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