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Leaflet saying dogs are 'impure' offends locals

Leaflet saying dogs are 'impure' offends locals Photo: MEN Syndication

Community leaders and residents have criticised leaflets being posted to homes calling for a ban on dogs in public.

The pamphlets say dogs are ‘impure’ and should be ‘limited’ in ‘public spheres’ out of respect for Muslim families.

They have been received by households in Cheetham Hill and Salford and are believed to be connected to a campaign group called ‘For Public Purity’. Senior Cheetham Hill councillor Naeem Hassan branded the idea nonsense and said he believed the messages were designed to divide communities. Other residents in nearby Salford also aired their scepticism.

Fayyaz Ali, 39, who lives on Pentlands Avenue in Salford, is Muslim and has two dogs. He thinks the leaflets are a scam to incite hatred in the community, and he said no Muslim organisation would post such leaflets.

He said:

This has got to be a scam. I’m a Muslim and the Muslim law says that if you live in a country that is not Muslim, which is England, you respect the law of the land.

The Muslim law does not apply in any different country. For example, my parents are from Pakistan. If I had a problem living here I should go back to Pakistan and live there.

Fair enough that we live here but we should respect what other people want. We should be a part of this society, rather than make up our own little society.

– Fayyaz Ali
Offending leaflet Credit: MEN Syndication

The leaflets say:

This area is home to a large Muslim community. Please have respect for us and for our children and limit the presence of dogs in the public sphere.

Keeping the purity of the public space enables the Muslims to remain untainted and without blemish.

As part of this effort, we have chosen to address one of the aspects that can have a detrimental effect on the purity of the public space, with the aspect being the presence of dogs who are considered impure in Islam.

– Leaflets asking people to keep their dogs out of public areas

Cheetham Hill councillor Naeem Hassan, who has lived in the community for more than 30 years, called on the public to ignore the leaflets.

He said:

In our house in Pakistan we keep dogs and many of my friends here have dogs. We keep ourselves clean and away from animals before prayer but Muslim people do keep dogs in their homes.

I think this is somebody trying to divide the community. I do not see any problems at all. I want to say to people to just ignore this.

Nobody in 30 years has ever raised any issue about this with me and we do not impose our beliefs on anyone.

– Cheetham Hill councillor Naeem Hassan

The leaflets include a dog ban logo and website links. Clifton Green, a 36-year-old father-of-two from Salford, said his street was leafleted. The family have a puppy.

He said:

There are mixed messages on Facebook. There are people who are suggesting that this is being done to get a rise out of people but it could be people that are against Muslims - to whip up issues.

We were a little bit concerned at first that it was somebody targeting us because we have a dog, but leaflets have been posted to other houses on the street.

I am slightly concerned by it. I have got a lot of Muslim friends and people who I work with. It is going down the route of telling people how to live their lives and I do not think anyone should be doing that. I would not impose my beliefs and my view of life on other people.

– Clifton Green
Clifton Green with his puppy and one of the leaflets Credit: MEN Syndication

Another resident, Emma Williams, 29, said:

At first I thought it was a joke, is someone having a laugh? Then you look at it, and go on the website it seems real. I just don’t get how people think thy can post that through your door.

If we posted that through another person’s door to that effect, we would be classed as racist. I understand the issues Muslim people have with dogs, that they are unclean. I have a lot of Muslim friends so I get the issue behind it, but they are living in our country.

We have a dog and he’s on a lead and we clean up after him. I don’t see why we can’t be allowed to have our dog in a public space. I think it’s real and it’s the minority who are speaking now. I know all Muslims don’t think that, but it only takes so many Muslim people to get behind it they will actually stop it.

– Resident, Emma Williams

The group ‘For Public Purity’ has its own website and a Facebook page. Organisers say the movement was created ‘as an effort to make life more accommodating for Muslims in the UK by tackling an issue that is rarely discussed, the presence of dogs in the public sphere’.

They say Islamic tradition regards dogs as ‘impure and unclean’. A message on the group’s website reads:

As part of this effort, we have chosen to address one of the aspects that can have a detrimental effect on the purity of the public space, with the aspect being the presence of dogs who are considered impure in Islam.

– Message on the group’s website