In Praise of Iran’s Dog Fatwa

It’s wonderful that in the United States religious injunctions don’t carry the weight that they do in the Islamic state of Iran. And people who suborn murder — recall the death fatwa against Salman Rushdie (whom I recently spotted alive and well at a Manhattan showing of “Solitary Man”) — should be prosecuted, not revered. But every once in a while there’s a fatwa that can give one, albeit briefly and guiltily, the dictatorial itch.

Over the weekend, a newspaper reported (hat tip Andrew Sullivan) that Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem had issued a fatwa against dogs, declaring the animals “unclean” in a move intended to discourage the Western practice of keeping them as pets.

“Friendship with dogs is a blind imitation of the West,” Makarem said. “There are lots of people in the West who love their dogs more than their wives and children.”

Was Makarem perhaps reacting to the recent reports out of Florida, where socialite Gail Posner left more of her multimillion dollar estate to her Chihuahua than to her son?

It could be argued that some wives and children may not deserve to be loved, but that’s still no case for pet ownership. Pets, after all, consume scarce resources. As one blogger points out:

According to a recent book “Time
to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living,” a large dog
like a German shepherd consumes up to 0.36 global hectares of resources >>>

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