10/21/2014, 00.00
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Islamic authorities slam "I want to touch a dog"

Hundreds of people participated in an event which, according to the organizers, wanted to help people overcome their fear of the animals considered "unclean" by Muslims. For those who touched the dogs, volunteers explained how to perform purifying ritual.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Islamic Development Department (Jakim) of Malaysia has announced an "in-depth" investigation into the organization "I want to touch a dog", an event which took place on Sunday in Central Park, One Utama, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Jakim director general of Datuk Othman Mustapha said that the event should not have taken place and dennounced the attitude of the organizers as irresponsible and of failing to take on board the sensibilities of Muslims in the country, which consider man's best friend "impure ". Another Muslim leader, Nooh Gadut, spoke of an attempt to insult the religion. According to local media he warned against "attempts to create a culture that is opposed to Islam".

The organizer of the event, Alhabshi Syed Azmi, a 30 year-old Muslim, said that his intention is to help people overcome their fear of dogs and promote affection towards animals. The reactions of Malaysians on social media has been generally positive.

According to the newspapers, there were more than 800 people, half of which Muslim, who took part in the 'touch a dog' Sunday.  Following the organizer's guidelines those who wanted to pet a dog wore clothes with yellow, while those who wanted to just watch wore orange.

In any case, for those Muslims who touched the dogs at the end of the event volunteers explained how to perform the purifying ritual (sertu), first washing their hands with earth and then six times with clean water.


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