Ahmad Salek: Dog-playing and Loose Hijab Should Change, Conform to Islamic Lifestyle
Ahmad Salek, a former Iranian parliamentary [Majles] representative from Isfahan said: “Immoralities such as loose hijab (women head and body cover) and dog-playing (petting), reflect the Western lifestyle, so [such conduct] should change and conform to the Islamic lifestyle.”
It seems that [rapid] changes in the lifestyle of many people in Iran (especially in large cities, and within the last two decades, in particular) has compelled many traditional [Shi’a Islamic] clerics to vehemently oppose manifestations of the “Western lifestyle,” such as women not observing strict hijab, and people having pet animals [especially dogs] even in their own homes.
Mr. Salek, an “osoolgara” (fundamentalist) parliamentary deputy for five electoral cycles, has [focused on the above-mentioned realities and] said the following: “… [In recent years]…the situation of [general] culture, but especially the people’s religious culture, has suffered strict blows…, [so] experts should…work hard to design proper [programs] and goals in such cultural realms; […and hence] we need relevant [executive branch] organizations that would periodically come together [to collaborate] and then do their own [assigned] tasks.”
Meanwhile, along with Mr. Salek, Mohammad Mehdi Hosseini Hamedani, [a fundamentalist cleric] who represents Mr. Khamenei [Iran’s Supreme Leader] in the Alborz Province, claimed that colonial influencers caused the forced removal of hijab [about 80 years ago] in the name of freedom and scientific progress; He said: “As a consequence of such measures, plotted by ill-designers and colonialists, now we are witnessing that women in [our] Islamic society, rather than becoming mothers and [properly] raising the next generation, prance around the streets, holding and hogging their dogs.”
In his Friday Prayers sermons of this week, Mr. Hamedani declared that cyber media, radio, and televisions are tools that further the goals of colonialism, and said that, sadly, the work of colonialism has been achieved, and American Islam and British Shi’ism are other examples of this success.
Relatedly, a while ago, Rasool Falahati, the Friday Prayers Imam of [the Northern City of] Rasht, who is also [a fundamentalist cleric] representing the Supreme Leader in the Gilan Province, had criticized people having pet dogs as well as the way young people dress [in public]; hence he had said the following: “We see strange and weird models and clothes in public, [causing] some people to be afraid of such people, and [also] walking dogs has become a [proud] profession, [to the extent that] some people do not treat their dog and their children differently.” Mr. Falahati had requested the local Police forces to “uproot dog-walking in Rasht.”
In Iran the laws and regulations concerning the caring of pet animals, including in people’s private homes, their rights, and the manner of their public presence in urban spaces and parks, as well as in public transportation vehicles are not clear, causing confusion among the owners of pet/house animals.
In the strict traditional interpretation(s) of certain sects of Islam, dogs are conventionally considered to be ritually impure. This belief results from the long tradition that even the mere presence of a dog during daily prayers can nullify a pious Muslim’s supplications to God.