"No sir, that's not my fido."
October 14, 2002 10:26 AM   Subscribe

"No sir, that's not my fido." Iranian cleric denounces the "moral depravity" of owning dogs, and calls for their arrest. (Both dogs and owners.) "In our country there is freedom of speech, but not freedom for corruption," he said. Why do we pretend to understand the culture of the middle east?
posted by woil (59 comments total)
 
So.... Son of Sam jokes?

Actually, my guess is that the cleric saw a few episodes of Davey and Goliath and decided that canines promote Christianity. Uh-oh.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:32 AM on October 14, 2002


Although the part that says they focused on Wiener Dogs made me spit-take my Mountain Dew, I question if this is FPP Material.
posted by Stan Chin at 10:38 AM on October 14, 2002


Why do we pretend to understand the culture of the middle east?

This is not so much a symptom of middle eastern culture as it is an indicator of the insanity of fundamentalism.
posted by mischief at 10:39 AM on October 14, 2002


an interesting point from the article:

"But despite the clampdowns, dog ownership has been on the rise, especially among rich Iranians in the north of Tehran."

what can we make of the fact that the rich there seem least interested in this edict? maybe nothing. just struck me as interesting that the bbc should mention it.

in any event, aside from the fact that this 'loon' may have the law on his side, i'm not sure that this is different from all the maniacs running around burning Harry Potter. you might argue that Potter is construed as blasphemous propaganda, whereas the dog is an actual act of blasphemy (and hence a more direct affront), but i don't know if that's a distinction that book-burners make -- the propaganda is an act. besides which, the act of being anti-speech may be *more* extreme than being anti-dog, as this guy makes clear.

while this is indeed wierd, it's certainly not evidence of some huge gap between the middle east and the enlightened west. there might be some, but this isn't one of them.
posted by hnice at 10:41 AM on October 14, 2002


Well, he's got a point about the dogs. Surely there are some nice cats to be had in the region?
posted by rushmc at 10:48 AM on October 14, 2002


Uh, where exactly has Harry Potter been made illegal. Please enlighten us, oh alien from another planet.
posted by HTuttle at 10:49 AM on October 14, 2002


and how does owning a dog corrupt you ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:50 AM on October 14, 2002


sgt.serenity: Owning a dog corrupts you because they are "unclean".
posted by caustic at 10:55 AM on October 14, 2002


Struth, If this is another campaign against Western evil, immorality, self-indulgence and ruthless selfishness I hope them Mullahs never turn their minds to cats...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:56 AM on October 14, 2002


Uh, where exactly has Harry Potter been made illegal. Please enlighten us, oh alien from another planet.

I think the point was that if fundamentalists had been in power somewhere in the West, Harry Potter would have been banned there. The difference, therefore, is not so much a difference in cultures (we all have fundamentalist nuts to deal with) as a difference in governments (over there, the fundamentalist nuts are in charge).

and how does owning a dog corrupt you ?

It's a religious rule. There's no accounting for what certain religions may or may not consider to be "corrupting". Some people don't eat pork, others confess their sins to a cleric, others take their shoes off before they enter the shrine--rules like this are a pretty common aspect of religion.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:58 AM on October 14, 2002


I hope them Mullahs never turn their minds to cats...

they like cats. ever heard of the Persian cat variants? Plus, cats are clean because they're always bathing themselves.

Why do we pretend to understand the culture of the middle east?

I'm guessing by the middle east, you mean Islam. Many religions have certain restrictions on what animals they consider clean and worthy to be own and eaten. The Jewish faith has many restrictions as well as Islam. The cleric is a fundamentalist and so he's just taking the idea of a clean animal farther than most people would.
posted by Stynxno at 11:05 AM on October 14, 2002


In June, police banned the sale of dogs and penalised anyone walking a dog in public. The practice is seen by conservatives as a corrupting influence of decadent Western culture.

Mmmmm, delicious decadence...
posted by cohappy at 11:06 AM on October 14, 2002



Uh, where exactly has Harry Potter been made illegal. Please enlighten us, oh alien from another planet.

I think the point was that if fundamentalists had been in power somewhere in the West, Harry Potter would have been banned there.


Oh, just give them a little more time...
posted by badstone at 11:08 AM on October 14, 2002


Dogs denounce Iranian clerics
posted by quonsar at 11:10 AM on October 14, 2002


"I demand the judiciary arrest all dogs with long, medium or short legs - together with their long-legged owners," Hojatolislam Hassani is quoted as saying in the reformist Etemad newspaper.

So if you're a midget, you lose your dog but you're free to go.
posted by me3dia at 11:12 AM on October 14, 2002


Geez quonsar... well done. Brilliant, actually.
posted by Stan Chin at 11:13 AM on October 14, 2002


The Jewish faith has many restrictions as well as Islam.

It DOES? Please site your sources. Don't defame Judaism.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:25 AM on October 14, 2002


The Jewish faith has many restrictions as well as Islam.

It DOES? Please site your sources. Don't defame Judaism.


Source: The Torah.

Not all Jews observe all the dietary and other restrictions listed there, but many do, and the restrictions definitely exist.
posted by kewms at 11:32 AM on October 14, 2002


"Why do we pretend to understand the culture of the middle east?"

I asked this question to get people talking, not to sound like an idiot. ;-)
posted by woil at 11:33 AM on October 14, 2002


Don't defame Judaism.

Of course one shouldn't.
What about defaming Islam, that is cool, isn't it?

Of course there are many restrictions (food, Shabbath, sideburns, hats, etc)
posted by matteo at 11:34 AM on October 14, 2002


Jeez Paris... chill. To notice Kosher is not defamation.
posted by scottymac at 11:34 AM on October 14, 2002


"Iranian clerics must lick the balls of thier Canine masters", said Hans Wienerdog.

ROFL. quonsar, that is GREAT. As a weiner dog owner, I bow down to the most high Hans Wienerdog.
posted by Plunge at 11:35 AM on October 14, 2002


Not all Jews observe all the dietary and other restrictions listed there, but many do, and the restrictions definitely exist.

We're talking about keeping a dauchund or a golden retriever as a pet; NOT EATING ONE.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:36 AM on October 14, 2002


Would the Mullahs still prefer felines if they knew of the Viking Kittens?
posted by blogRot at 11:37 AM on October 14, 2002


And to call Islam primitive for viewing a Golden Retriever in anything but a positive light does make is only defamatory if it isn't true.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:38 AM on October 14, 2002


Islam doesn't have a central religious authority. The cleric in the article is probably the equivalent of a rural Arkansas fundamentalist Baptist preacher calling for a book burning.

The problem with the Middle East is that sometimes the crazy tent-revival bozos get political power (or at least, money and guns) and there are no good checks and balances.
posted by Foosnark at 11:38 AM on October 14, 2002


One more time:

And to call Islam primitive for viewing a Golden Retriever as evil is only defamatory if it's not true.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:40 AM on October 14, 2002


This is not about "Islam" (and still less "the culture of the middle east" [!]), it's about one Iranian cleric with an extreme interpretation of certain bits of the Koran. Yes, there are other clerics with similar interpretations, and there are laws that reflect this, but we have some weird laws right here in the U S of A. For a totally different interpretation of the Koran, see here. (Cats are different because Muhammad is said to have liked them.) And if you don't think there are extremist religious views in America...

hnice: The north of Tehran is the posh district, where the women wear Dior and Armani under their chadors, the kids listen to the latest Western hits, and everyone watches American TV and movies. You get an inordinate amount of reporting about these people because they speak English and reporters are comfortable with them. It's people like that who convinced reporters back in '78 that Khomeini would never take over, and if he did nothing serious would happen. Meanwhile, Iranian politics has always been much more heavily influenced by the bazaar merchants and other conservative types with the support of the poor people of south Tehran, where Western reporters feel about as comfortable as in Bed-Stuy (non-New Yorkers, supply your local dreaded ghetto). So make appropriate allowances when you read about Iran.

On preview: ParisParamus reminds me of the Woody Allen character:
"I distinctly heard it. He muttered under his breath, 'Jew.'... Well, I pick up on those kind o' things. You know, I was having lunch with some guys from NBC so I said...uh, 'Did you eat yet or what?' and Tom Christie said, 'No, didchoo?' Not, did you, didchoo eat? Jew? No, not did you eat, but jew eat? Jew. You get it? Jew eat?"
posted by languagehat at 11:44 AM on October 14, 2002


Not to push the thread off track...

Uh, where exactly has Harry Potter been made illegal. Please enlighten us, oh alien from another planet.

Saudi Arabia's schools, for one. A quick googling turns up a whack of more bans, mostly in school libraries.

And now, back to the dogs.
posted by holycola at 11:44 AM on October 14, 2002


I am the proud owner of a short-legged, genital-licking, sometimes getting to the point of peeing on the floor out of excitement Dauchsund. Guess i'll be curtailing my "wiener dog expdition to Urumiyeh."
posted by tpl1212 at 11:45 AM on October 14, 2002


Islam doesn't have a central religious authority. The cleric in the article is probably the equivalent of a rural Arkansas fundamentalist Baptist preacher calling for a book burning.

Shi'a Islam in Iran does have a central authority: the Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamenei. I have no idea where the cleric mentioned in this article ranks in the Iranian religious hierarchy.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:49 AM on October 14, 2002


languagehat, I think there's something viscerally, and naturally abhorrent and deranged about twisting the warmth and companionship, to say nothing of cuteness of a dog into something negative, to say nothing of evil. There's nothing paranoid in my reaction. I would not want anyone to think for a minute that Judaism is incompatible with having a dog.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:53 AM on October 14, 2002


There is a hadith that says “The dog, the ass, and woman interrupt prayer if they pass in front of the believer, interpolating themselves between him and the direction of prayer.” and another that states "Angels do not accompany the travellers who have with them a dog and a bell." Both of these were written by Abu Hurayra who apparently hated dogs.

These hadith seem to be in direct conflict with the Quran itself which mentions dogs in Sura 7:176, 18:18 and 18:22. In Sura 18, the dog watches over the Dwellers in the Cave. Additionally, in Sura 5 (5:4), it is stated that meat obtained by trained dogs and falcons is not prohibited. So, if dogs are unclean then wouldn't food obtained by using hunting dogs also be unclean?

I hope these links and my post don't offend anyone. I've run into this question before and researched it then. I'm not an expert in Islam, just an interested individual.
posted by onhazier at 11:53 AM on October 14, 2002


Excellent! I've spent my whole life terrorized by other people's dogs, ever since I was mauled by my Aunt's deranged poodle when I was four years old.

"Oh, he's just being friendly..." is unacceptable when some huge bounding drooling beast charges your crotch. And this is nothing in the face of the kids who're maimed and killed by darling pooch all the time.

It's a messed up western morality thet feeds these animals enough in a day to keep third world families going for weeks.

Dog Fatwa anyone?
posted by marvin at 11:54 AM on October 14, 2002


Oh yes, do let's take this opportunity to be high and mighty, because goodness knows, America has no stupid laws visited upon us by wacky fundamentalists. Speaking of Harry Potter being outlawed, I wonder when the nice folks in Alabama are going to get their hands on this?

Remember, folks, to call America primitive for viewing a vibrator as evil is only defamatory if it's not true.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 12:08 PM on October 14, 2002


That's a great, great decree.

For me to poop on!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:09 PM on October 14, 2002


Paris: I wouldn't want anyone to think that either. The problem is that nobody said anything of the sort. The only remark about Judaism was this, from Stynxno: Many religions have certain restrictions on what animals they consider clean and worthy to be own and eaten. The Jewish faith has many restrictions as well as Islam. Any non-paranoid person would read this as referring to the notoriously complex laws of kashrus (from Ask the Rabbi: "Although some types of locusts are kosher, we no longer eat them because we have lost the tradition for how to distinguish which ones are kosher and which ones aren't."). You, on the other hand, read it as saying "Jews eat dogs!!" I drew my conclusions.

onhazier: Good links.
posted by languagehat at 12:09 PM on October 14, 2002


unacceptable when some huge bounding drooling beast charges your crotch.
<smithers>
if you do it, sir?
</smithers>
posted by quonsar at 12:17 PM on October 14, 2002


You, on the other hand, read it as saying "Jews eat dogs!!" I drew my conclusions.

No biggie. Actually, I intepreted it as intimating that Jewish law views dogs the way this cleric does, i.e., as pets.

P.S.: not very many very observant Jews have pets, but that's a logistical/resource thing, not a halachic (legal one). Just as I am dog-deprived due to my lifestyle and coop bylaws : (
posted by ParisParamus at 12:21 PM on October 14, 2002


That's some great twisted logic here.

It's really no different from looking at the Amish, and then saying "I can't believe christians and their refusal to drive cars or use electricity. Christians are so primative."

And Paris, I point you to thsi thread in soc.culture.jewish about hasidic opposition to dogs, most think they are fine, but a few find religious basis for owning dogs being profane. See this qoute:
Well, my Zaydy used to say,
"If a Jew has a dog, either the Jew is no Jew, or the dog is no dog!"


and
Perhaps in your Minhag keeping unclean animals is perfectly permissable,however, some of us were reared with the practise of avoiding contact with all animals that are Tumeh

And to call judiasm primitive for viewing a Golden Retriever as evil is only defamatory if it's not true.

What, I'm not allowed to judge all of judiasm by its most extreme element? Why not?
posted by malphigian at 12:35 PM on October 14, 2002


Paris: OK, I withdraw the paranoia charge (and I sympathize with your dog deprivation, from which I also suffer).

quonsar: Don't ever denbeste!
posted by languagehat at 12:36 PM on October 14, 2002


ps. I should add, that I realize there is definitely a more significant extremist element in islamic countries (heck, they run some of them), I'm simply responding to the indictment of the religion as a whole.
posted by malphigian at 12:38 PM on October 14, 2002


malp: you sort of have a point if this is just a cleric going out on his own, but if the Koran disses dogs, you don't.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:47 PM on October 14, 2002


In June, police banned the sale of dogs and penalised anyone walking a dog in public. The practice is seen by conservatives as a corrupting influence of decadent Western culture.

Mmmmm, delicious decadence...


Note To Self:

Make "porn film" consisting of shapely(yet modestly attired) woman walking poodle on a chain with Rufus Thomas' "Walking the Dog" as background music.

Distribute exclusively in Iran. Make boocoo $$.

Continue plans for world domination.
posted by jonmc at 12:57 PM on October 14, 2002


malp: you sort of have a point if this is just a cleric going out on his own, but if the Koran disses dogs, you don't.

As has been pointed out earlier in this thread, the Qur'an doesn't dis dogs, so malphigian's point stands.
posted by laz-e-boy at 1:43 PM on October 14, 2002


I, for one, welcome our new wiener-dog confiscating overlords.
posted by pejamo at 4:58 PM on October 14, 2002


ok, i want to point out something that's really irritating:

Uh, where exactly has Harry Potter been made illegal. Please enlighten us, oh alien from another planet

in response to:

aside from the fact that this 'loon' may have the law on his side, i'm not sure that this is different from all the maniacs running around burning Harry Potter.


see, you should read the entire sentence. it's been qualified, meaning "except for being made illegal, it's the same."
posted by tolkhan at 5:00 PM on October 14, 2002


Thanks for the soc.culture.jewish pointer, malphigian. This July MeFi thread includes plenty of examples of Muslims/Arabs who love the beauty of dogs as much as any Westerner. For ParisParamus and anyone else who still thinks dog-dissing is unique to Islam, here's an essay, Dogs: God's Worst Enemies? that looks at anti-dog elements in all three major monotheistic religions. Lots of fascinating info about Judaism:

The Bible mentions dogs 32 times, mostly negatively (I Sam. 17: 43; 24: 14. II Sam. 3: 8; 9: 8; 16:9)...According to Jeremiah, their essential impurity will burden dogs with carrying the dead on Doomsday (Jeremiah 15:3)...Deuteronomy proscribes the admittance of dogs and whores into the House of the Lord (23: 18), a peculiar association that is also suggested in the Book of Kings (I Kings, 22: 38).

ParisParamus: "I would not want anyone to think for a minute that Judaism is incompatible with having a dog."

Oh yeah? Tell it to the rabbis:

Rabbi Yaakov Emden permitted the owning of a dog only if the animal served economic or protective purposes, but he strongly condemned pet-keeping as a waste of time and "precisely the [abhorrent] behavior of the uncircumcised" (Sheilot u-Teshuvot Yaavetz, 17)

dogs were used to symbolize the pandemonium predicted to precede the coming of the Messiah, (Sanhedrin, 97a) and were placed in the unpleasant company of whores, witches, and schismatics (Pesahim, 113b). Similarly, among the three "objects" that a wise Jew was to avoid, dogs were named together with women and snakes as suspects for sorcery and malevolence (Pesahim, 111a).

Rabbi Simeon ben Lakish:
"He who breeds a wild dog in his house keeps loving kindness away from his house...(Shabbath, 63a-b)"...Although the above quotation refers to "wild" dogs, the rabbis of the Talmud pronounced a curse upon all who owned dogs, apparently including any dog (Baba Kama, 79b; Jechter, 1992). Dog-owning was seen to have undesirable consequences on both the social and religious levels, whether from a personal or a collective perspective. The presence of dogs was said to frighten the poor, who would not approach houses for alms. Dog-owners would not be able to show affection for the poor, or worse still, might withhold love from a neighbor. The inevitable conclusion, therefore, was that owning a dog alienates Jews from the love of God, an absolute verdict that left no room for further considerations.


Dislike of golden retrievers is hardly confined to Islam, ParisParamus.
posted by mediareport at 7:21 PM on October 14, 2002


first , they came for the pekinese,
i did not speak out ,
because i was not a pekinese.

then they came for the pomeranians,
i did not speak out,
because i was not a pomeranian.

then they came for the poodles
i did not speak out,
because i was not a poodle.

then they came for me,
and when i cried out,
there was no one left to help me.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:34 PM on October 14, 2002


Paris: I know it's cold and cough season, but as a friend, take it easy on the decongestants. How you arrived at your assumption was a feat of mental gymnastics and paranoia that the Unibomber would have had trouble with. Read what is posted instead of just going off half-cocked because it has the word "jew" or "jewish" in it. Your post:

The Jewish faith has many restrictions as well as Islam.

It DOES? Please site your sources. Don't defame Judaism.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:25 AM PST on October 14


How could anyone say that the Jewish faith does not have many restrictions? Are you really ignorant of Jewish restrictions upon everything from food to clothing? Levitical law should pretty much cover any questions you have.

Damn man. You're a hard man to follow. 1/2 the time I agree with you, the other 1/2 I'm so confused by your thought process that I don't even know how or where to begin. Maybe it's a reflection on me. *shrug*

Pejamo: I, for one, welcome our new wiener-dog confiscating overlords.
Seldom are these things funny anymore, but this one was.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:35 PM on October 14, 2002


Damn mutts are unclean. They lick their own cocks, balls and pussys and asses.
And why do they?
Because they can. Lucky bastards.
posted by philip_buster at 8:10 PM on October 14, 2002


Me chill out? How about you chill out.

Whatever medieval texts say, the year is 2002, or 5763, and plenty of Orthodox Jews, "even" Orthodox Rabbis, have dogs. The clear implication of the above comment was that the Jewish view on having a dog was similar to the view of the "cleric" described in the posted. Try this piece. Or this one.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:34 PM on October 14, 2002


I wish I had some wiener dogs to cook over this flame war, but alas, they were taken away by this crazy cleric.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:38 PM on October 14, 2002


*cough*
Saluki
posted by Catch at 9:58 PM on October 14, 2002


That country is going to the dogs...
posted by Termite at 11:22 PM on October 14, 2002


* cocks leg , pisses on thread *
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:27 AM on October 15, 2002


...and why don't these fundamentalist moslem clerics denounce some of the really bad things that come from the West, like guns, explosives and more fuggin' guns. Now that would be something. I'd like to hear them say that all modern arms are un-islamic. Bow and arrow - good enough för Mohammed, good enough for your fundamentalist ass.
posted by Termite at 11:06 AM on October 15, 2002


Did someone say bow and arrow? Whereas European chivalry centered around the lance, the knights of Islamic chivalry were archers:
It is established in authentic tradition that the Prophet said, "The angels attend no human sport save archery." Therefore one should regard going to the shooting range as going to the mosque, being aware of the exalted status of the guests that there attend you, and should make the lesser ablution before beginning to shoot.

From the Journal of Military History: examples of Islamic or Mongol and Islamic influence upon medieval European military technology....in weaponry are the composite bow...

OK, I'm way off topic, but this thread had already been run over like a dog in the street...
posted by BinGregory at 12:40 PM on October 15, 2002


Eventually, we will come to regard these Islamic clerics the same way we view the Falwells and Robertsons of the west: they're similarly full of bluster and strong opinions on what good and proper members of their faith ought to be doing, but that's about it.
posted by Dreama at 1:03 PM on October 15, 2002


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