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A “Lashing the Dog Owner Law” in Irredentist Shi’ite Iran

February 21st, 2008 · No Comments · Essays

zorodog.jpg  dogs.jpg

The Pre-Islamic Zoroastrian Culture of Iran Revered Dogs, and Suffered for this Behavior Under Muslim Rule

From this story, “Iran: Four months in jail and 30 lashes for walking dog in streets”:

Tehran, 19 Feb.(AKI) – A 70-year-old man has been sentenced by an Iranian judge to four months in jail and 30 lashes for going out on the street with his dog. The incident took place in Shahr Rey, a suburb of Tehran when the owner of the dog was caught by a police who quickly handcuffed the man. He was later charged by an Islamic judge for “disturbing the public order.”

The sentence, seems to want to panic the owners of dogs that despite repeated warnings by the police, continue to defy the authorities by taking their dogs outside their homes.

Alas, the Apocalyptic Dwarf of Jihad and Jew Hatred, President Ahmadinejad, had his own personalized fatwa issued so he could possess four guard dogs, bought in Germany at a cost of 110,000 euros each.

As per the Adnkronos International report,

The purchase of these dogs was authorized by a fatwa issued by several ayatollahs who approved the use of these animals if the only goal was to guarantee personal security and not infringe on any religious rule,’ said Iran’s semi-official news agency Fars.”

Ahmadinejad’s dogs are at the center of a theological controversy because Islam considers dogs to be impure. For this reason, the Iranian government has banned owners (other than His Dwarfness) of domestic animals from taking them on the streets of the city, and owners risk fines or the “detention” of their animals in a pound.

Mary Boyce, Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies and a pre-eminent scholar of Zoroastrianism, spent a 12-month sabbatical in 1963-64 living in the Zoroastrian community of Iran (mostly in Sharifabad, on the northern Yazdi plain). During a lecture series given at Oxford in 1975, she noted how the Iranian ancestors of the Zoroastrians had a devoted working relationship (i.e., herding livestock) with dogs when they lived a nomadic existence on the Asian steppes. This sustained contact evolved over generations such that dogs became “a part in (Zoroastrian) religious beliefs and practices…which in due course became a part of the heritage of Zoroastrianism.” Boyce then provided an historical overview of the deliberate, wanton cruelty of Iranian Muslims toward dogs in Iran, including a personal eyewitness account:

In Sharifabad the dogs distinguished clearly between Moslem and Zoroastrian, and were prepared to go…full of hope, into a crowded Zoroastrian assembly, or to fall asleep trustfully in a Zoroastrian lane, but would flee as before Satan from a group of Moslem boys…The evidence points…to Moslem hostility to these animals having been deliberately fostered in the first place in Iran, as a point of opposition to the old (pre-Islamic jihad conquest) faith (i.e., Zoroastrianism) there. Certainly in the Yazdi area…Moslems found a double satisfaction in tormenting dogs, since they were thereby both afflicting an unclean creature and causing distress to the infidel who cherished him. There are grim…stories from the time (i.e., into the latter half of the 19th century) when the annual poll-tax (jizya) was exacted, of the tax gatherer tying a Zoroastrian and a dog together, and flogging both alternately until the money was somehow forthcoming, or death released them. I myself was spared any worse sight than that of a young Moslem girl…standing over a litter of two-week old puppies, and suddenly kicking one as hard as she could with her shod foot. The puppy screamed with pain, but at my angry intervention she merely said blankly, “But it’s unclean.” In Sharifabad I was told by distressed Zoroastrian children of worse things: a litter of puppies cut to pieces with a spade-edge, and a dog’s head laid open with the same implement; and occasionally the air was made hideous with the cries of some tormented animal. Such wanton cruelties on the Moslems’ part added not a little to the tension between the communities.


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