Sunday, February 10, 2008

Iran's Presidential Dogs

A decision by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to acquire four guard dogs has upset the ayatollahs from the holy city of Qom.

The four dogs, bought in Germany at a cost of 110,000 euros each, are the topic of theological controversy because Islam considers dogs to be impure.

For this reason, the government has banned owners of domestic animals from taking them on the streets of the city, and owners risk penalties or the 'detention' of their animals in a pound.

Now that Ahmadinejad is protecting German dogs, many are asking the question: why can he have dogs while other citizens are banned?

The move has been badly received by several high-ranking ayatollahs.

In the middle of the controversy, the Fars agency considered the unofficial spokesman for Ahmadinejad, gave wide coverage to the issue related to the president's dogs.

"First of all these dogs are only of a German breed, bought as puppies, but grown and trained in Iran in the hands of Iranian instructors," Fars said.

"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."

It's a judgement not shared by other religious leaders, for example, those that issued a fatwa authorizing police to fine whoever is seen on the street with a puppy.

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