Guide dogs open Muslim leaders’ eyes
Islamic leaders are working to break down misconceptions about dogs after a spate of complaints that Muslim cab drivers are banning guide dogs.
Cultural and religious beliefs prevent Muslims from coming into contact with dogs’ saliva because it is considered unclean.
Guide Dogs Queensland (GDQ) threw open its doors to a group of clerics from the Imam Council of Queensland (ICQ) in Brisbane, in an Australian and possibly world first to promote the value of dogs to vision-impaired Muslims.
While at the same time, through Muslim leaders, they hope to dispel some fears that Muslims may have of dogs.
GDQ Rehabilitation Service manager Bashir Ebrahim, a Muslim himself, said the belief about dogs came from religious and cultural upbringing but varied in extremes, depending on the individual.
In Islam it is permissible to have working dogs, such as guide dogs, guard dogs or hunting dogs.
But in Australia, there is only one vision-impaired Muslim, from Victoria, who has a guide dog.
After watching the dogs at work, the Imams sang the praises of the dogs and pledged to work with GDQ.
Imam Mohammed Akram Buksh, who was part of the delegation, said special rooms had been set aside outside of mosques where Muslims could leave their dogs while they went inside to pray.
British Muslim body OKs taking guide dog to mosque: A British Muslim body has ruled that a blind student can take a guide dog with him to his local mosque, a judgment Muslim and blind advocacy groups are hailing as a breakthrough.
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