Muslim group supports student’s right to service dog

A civil rights group is working again to debunk the myth that Muslims and dogs can’t get along. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today is clarifying Muslim beliefs about dogs and expressing support for a St. Cloud State University student who felt his service dog was threatened. CAIR-MN issued a statement following a May 12 article in the St. Cloud Times, which said that graduate student Tyler Hurd left the university because he feared for the safety of his dog.

Hurd told the St. Cloud Times that while many Muslim students grew to like his dog, the dog was threatened by a student at one of the schools where he was doing his field training.

The Times article falsely states that Islam “forbids the touching of dogs”. CAIR-MN clarifies that many Muslims are uncomfortable around dogs, as they believe the saliva of dogs invalidates the ritual ablution performed before prayer. For this reason, it has become a cultural norm for individuals not to have dogs in their homes. However, “the moral and legal need to accommodate individuals using service dogs far outweighs the discomfort an individual Muslim might feel about coming into contact with a dog, which is one of God’s creatures,” said CAIR-MN Communications Director Valerie Shirley.

One unfortunate result of the St. Cloud Times article is that threats have been turned on the larger Muslim community. By Wednesday, there were more than 300 comments on the St. Cloud Times website about Hurd’s story, many of them hostile.

Engage Minnesota, 14 May 2008

Sample comments on the St. Cloud Times website:

“This is another craven, left-wing college administration giving in to soft jihad. America is giving in to these Muslim monsters. We let them lie, libel, and threaten with impunity. they never have to face up to anything. We are too nice in this country to our enemies. They exploit this weakness.”

“Muslims are a foreign and vile presence in our country. How the hell is it that they murder Amercians and plot and dare to raise their foul voices against our citizens? We need grassroots support for a deportation law!”

“It’s sad we carter [sic] to the needs of these people , we bring them in, feed them, cloth them, and house them, and they still turn on us.”

“Ban this damned death cult/crime syndicate now! Islam is not a religion. It is an excuse, dreamed up by a pedophile moon-god worshipper, to justify his (Muhammeds’ – may pigs blood be upon him) every lust for child-rape and violence.”