In an effort to stop Western practices in Iran and as part of a crackdown on what officials describe as immoral and un-Islamic behavior, Iranian officials have set up a ‘dog prison’ in Tehran and are confiscating dogs from their owners and throwing them in this ‘prison.’
The acceptability of dog ownership has been in dispute since the creation of the Islamic republic in ’79. In theory, according to Islam, dogs are considered ‘dirty’ and those who own dogs, under ‘Western influence.’ Both unacceptable to Iranian officials. Conservatives have even labeled dog ownership as ‘morally depraved’ and say that it should be banned!
Thousands of mostly young people have been detained or received warnings over anything that officials consider to be un-Islamic, including the way they dress and now over dog ownership. In the past dog owners have received warnings and fines but now the pressure has been stepped up since, especially among young people, dog ownership has actually increased.
Now, by order of the head of Tehran’s security forces, Ahmad Reza Radan, it is against the law for dogs to walk in public.
On woman, 23-year-old Banafshe, recently felt the bit of the new law when she was walking her little puppy, Jessica. Iranian police actually snatched the dog and took it to the ‘dog detention center’ for 48 hours for the crime of ‘walking in public.’ Jessica was released back to Banafshe ‘on bail.’
Banafshe said she was also insulted by the police but out of fear for the safety of her dog didn’t do anything. She did tell the officals taking her dog that “Allah says in the Koran that nothing bad has been created in this world.”
“They said, ‘We want to get rid of Western culture,'” Banafshe said. “They said, ‘You live in an Islamic country, it’s not right to have dogs. Are you not Islamic? Why does your family allow you to own a dog?’ They insulted me, they even told me that they hope my dog will die. But there was nothing I could do but cry. You can’t imagine how badly I was insulted.”
And she’s not the only one who has felt the bite of this new law. Another woman, Nadja, whose dog was sick and just out of surgery had her dog taken to the detention center, thinks the new law is “deplorable.”
“One day it’s dogs, the next day it’s [crime prevention], tomorrow they have to catch birds. The police themselves must be laughing at this,” Nadja said.
Conditions at the newly created ‘detention center’ are deplorable; piles of garbage and debris, cramped cages, totally unsuitable and unhealthy.
Dr. Javid Aledavud, the head of Iran’s Society to Defend the Rights of Animals, says there are no passages in the Koran about dogs being dirty and Iranian forces use sniffer dogs in an effort to stop the drug trade, this is strictly meant to fight Western influences.
Reza Javalchi, the secretary of the Society to Defend the Rights of Animals, says dog ownership, more common in the West, is considered by Iranian officials to be a sign of Western influence. “But that is not the case,” he said. “If we want to speak about symbols of Western civilization then maybe wearing a suit is also Western. These are issues that have become part of human life. Based on our research, domestic dogs were kept in Iran for hunting and guarding maybe long before it became widespread in the West.”
One young man was even arrested for posting fliers about his lost dog because Mehdi Ahmadi, a spokesman for Tehran’s police force, said “such ads spread depravity by encouraging dog ownership.”
There are no laws against dog ownership in Tehran says activists but that is little consolation the the poor dogs being held in ‘prison,’ in unhealthy and unsanitary conditions nor it it any consolation to those awaiting the release of their beloved canine companions.
Living in the US, I guess that it baffles me how any country can be run by religion and it’s people forced into an existence of near slavery to that religion. Growing up and living in a country where religion is a freedom and that freedom being one of the basis’s of the country, it’s impossible for me to even imagine it.
A country needs laws to keep order, but laws based on common sense and humanity, laws to protect our lives, our safety and our possessions. I believe in religious freedom as long as it hurts no one and no one is forced into it but to use religious tenets that are, to me at least, extreme to run a country, it just seems barbaric. It someone wants to follow the Islamic religion, that should be their choice, not something that is forced upon them.
Source – Radio Farda