"I want to touch a dog" event strikes nerve in Malaysia

An event called that "I want to touch a dog" which was initially launched in an attempt to dispel Muslim fears of touching dogs has come under fire by several members of the public.

The event has had a polarising effect, being covered by global press and spurred emotional comments from the public.

This has seen Islamic authorities intervening. According to Malaysian media, the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) will be looking into the event which was held on Sunday. Several religious leaders saw the event as an attempt to create a new lifestyle which could potentially hamper Muslim values and culture.

In a report by Free Malaysia publication, director-general Othman Mustapha of Jakim was quoted saying that the campaign was conducted openly for Muslims without a valid reasoning.

“It simultaneously can lead to public anxiety, especially among Muslims, because it has clearly contradicted with the belief of the sect and the norms and customs in Malaysia,” he said to the news outlet.

Meanwile, Ustaz Mohd Kazim Elias, an independent Islamic preacher said that the move was going against the laws of Islam and added that this could turn out to be a bigger Islamic issue. His Facebook post has been shared over 12 000 times.

“First a campaign for alcohol and then the dogs. We are to fear what comes next,” he said referencing to the recent October fest campaigns which came under fire.

Meanwhile Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin in his latest Facebook posting said he does not "express support or opposition to the campaign because [he is] not clear what the purpose of the campaign was.”

The event drew in a crowd of over 800, with over half being Muslims. During the event, volunteers taught the public, especially Muslims, how to clean themselves after being touched by a dog or touching a dog with water and soil. The event was organized by Syed Azmi Alhabshi and ran for over two hours.

[Image: Shutterstock]