September 26, 2008

Guide dogs allowed into UK mosques


by David Masters

A ruling by Muslim legislators in the UK has allowed a blind Muslim man to take a guide dog into his local mosque.

Mahomed-Abraar Khatri, an 18 year old student from Leicester, will now be allowed to take his Labrador guide dog Vargo into the Bilal Jamia Mosque when he goes to pray.

In Islam, dogs are considered unclean, suitable only for hunting and guarding a city, and are not allowed in mosques.

However, with the aid of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and the Muslim Council of Britain, Khatri submitted a request to the Muslim Law Council UK to be allowed to take his guide dog with him into a mosque.

An historic fatwa has now been issued by the Muslim Law Council UK, saying that because guide dogs can be classed as working dogs, they have decided to make an exception.

Guide dogs are now allowed to help blind people into a Mosque to find the place to leave their shoes before going to pray.

A concern for hygiene means that the dogs will not be allowed into the mosques’ prayer rooms.

Both Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and the Muslim Council of Britain welcomed the ruling as a step forward for partially sighted and blind Muslims in the UK.

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