Scottish Postcard - Police Advertisement with puppyWhy is it that people who preach the loudest about the need for others to be tolerant of their beliefs and customs are the first ones to show a total and complete lack of those very attributes to others?

I believe, to a degree, that we do need to tolerate, even if we don’t agree or accept, other people’s values, beliefs and cultures. Of course there are limits, but in general, as a principal, I do believe this. I guess this was why yesterday when I read news stories about “Muslims outraged at police advert featuring cute puppy sitting in policeman’s hat”, I got pissed off!

We have to respect their religion and culture and now this, on the same day that I come across an article talking about how sniffer dogs in the UK will not be allowed to efficiently do their jobs because dog handlers have to remain aware of “cultural sensitivities.” Because Muslims consider dogs to be ‘spiritually unclean”, dogs are not allowed to touch them and even touching their baggage “would be an issue for a Muslim preparing to pray.”

So now it seems that Muslim shopkeepers are offended about a picture of a puppy, a puppy named Rebel, a police dog in training that has proved extremely popular with children and adults since being introduced to the public, aged six weeks old, as Tayside Police’s newest canine recruit.

‘His incredible world-wide popularity – he has attracted record visitor numbers to our website – led us to believe Rebel could play a starring role in the promotion of our non-emergency number,” said a spokesman for Scottish Tayside Police force.

This is not a dog, it is a picture of a dog!! Get real!! And of course the police force backed down and apologized for their lack of sensitivity. Now you tell me, who is really lacking sensitivity here??

And as it turns out, this whole fiasco is nothing close to what it was made out to be!

Dundee councillor Mohammed Asif claimed the postcard, advertising Tayside Police’s new non-emergency telephone number, could offend some Muslims because it features a black German shepherd dog sitting in a police officer’s hat.

But Mr Asif’s comments have won little support among the public or Dundee’s Islamic community.

Last night Mahmud Sarwar, trustee of the Scottish Islamic and Cultural Centre and the Dura Street mosque, appealed for calm.

He said he had no problems with the postcard and called on homeowners and local businesses to display them as it is in the public interest.

“I’ve not heard anything about that from members of the community,” Mr Sarwar said.

“I was round some shops today and at the mosque and nobody has said anything about it.”

Mr Sarwar said that religious sensitivities would prevent him from displaying the postcard on a building of religious significance but there was nothing to stop them being displayed in shops.

“There is not a dog—it is just a picture,” he said.

Mr Sarwar also queried whether the concerns raised by Councillor Asif belonged to him or his constituents.

“Maybe that is his own thinking—everyone has the right to say things regarding their own wishes,” he said.

The controversy erupted when Councillor Asif said he was concerned the cards would not be welcomed in all communities and had been a waste of police resources.

One concerned resident said, “The story mentioned that Muslim-owned shops and convenience stores were rejecting the card due to the fact that it had a picture of a puppy on it and that Muslims found this offensive as they deem dogs to be ‘unclean.’

“Surely these cannot be the same Muslim-owned shops which have dog food cans and packets on the shelves and bacon and pork sausages in the chill cabinet with the pictures of happy pups and contented porkers beaming from the packaging?”

A resident from Wolseley Street, Dundee, said, “I have always endeavoured to be considerate to others regardless of race, colour, creed, etc.

“However I am amazed at the reaction Mohammed Asif expresses.

“Many of the shops he mentions—if not all—sell dog food, complete with graphic labels. Should they not wish for whatever reason to support an initiative by our local police, so be it.”

Steve Ross, of Fleming Gardens, said, “Tayside Police may be forced to spend valuable funds on changing the postcard they have produced to advertise their new non-emergency phone number because a certain section of the community consider a dog to be dirty—just let’s get on with our lives and preserve British culture.

“As a cat owner I don’t care too much for dogs but I do about the spending of what I assume to be public money to pacify a few.”

After reading about it on The Courier website, Eileen McInally, from Santa Monica, California, was prompted to write, “This story is absolutely unbelievable—what wrong have the police done?

“How can anyone find an image of a dog offensive? Absolutely no apology is necessary.

“The complainers should be reminded that Britain is a Christian country, full of people who love dogs.”

Cheers, an off-licence on Campfield Square, Broughty Ferry, which is owned and operated by Muslims, has not been given the postcards to display or distribute.

Shop assistant Irza Saeed said, however, Cheers would be happy to have the postcards featuring police-dog-in-training Rebel and advertising the new contact number for non-emergency calls to the police.

“We have a lot of customers of different cultures and religions but we are owned by Muslims and the workers are Muslim,” Miss Saeed said.

“I don’t feel that I’d be especially concerned or upset if we were given the postcards to distribute or that there would be anything wrong with that. However, it is part of Islam that we don’t have dogs around us.

“Most of our people are afraid of dogs but we try not to make a big deal of it.” (The Courier)

Hmmm….. seems the prejudice here is mostly one person spouting off. Hypocrite!!

Ok, if we have to be tolerant and accept of peoples’ beliefs, why are they not expected to do the same? It cannot be a one way street. I don’t give a damn what your race, creed, color or religion is, you want respect, you damn right better respect me too. Obviously this goes beyond dogs, it’s life. People from other countries and cultures want to come to the US or UK or wherever, assimilate or go back where you came from. You want us to accept you, accept us and become a part of us. Don’t expect us to change to please you.

End of rant… but not the end of my own anger over this and any and every incident like this.

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