Iran cleric says dogs "unclean" and not to be kept as pets
Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:33am EDT
TEHRAN (Reuters) - A senior Iranian cleric has decreed dogs are "unclean" and should not be kept as pets -- a move aimed at discouraging Western-style dog ownership in the Islamic state, a newspaper reported on Saturday.
Dogs are considered "unclean" under Islamic tradition but, while relatively rare in Iran, some people do keep them as pets.
By issuing a fatwa -- a religious ruling -- Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi has sent a clear message that this trend must stop.
"Friendship with dogs is a blind imitation of the West," he was quoted as saying in Javan daily. "There are lots of people in the West who love their dogs more than their wives and children."
Guard dogs and sheep dogs are considered acceptable under Islamic law but Iranians who carry dogs in their cars or take them to public parks can be stopped by police and fined.
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