KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 – The organiser of the controversial social event ‘I Want to Touch A Dog’ has finally broken his silence by apologising over the misconceptions and confusion arising out of the event held on Oct 19.
“I apologise for the unhappiness the event has caused. The objectives of the event were only for educational purposes such as allying the public’s fear of dogs, how to help rescue a dog and to what extent Muslims can handle a dog,” Syed Azmi Alhabshi said in a statement at Kelab Sri Selangor here today. He added that the event did not in any way encourage Muslims to keep dogs as pets. This was mentioned in the social media account since September.
“My intention in organising this event was sincere and I had no ulterior motives such as challenging the beliefs of Muslims or Islamic rulings, belittling Islamic scholars or promoting liberalism,” he said and admitted that the event had some shortcomings. Syed Azmi did not take any questions and was escorted out of the building after reading his brief statement, despite pleas from reporters to answer their questions.
His lawyer Syahredzan Johan said Syed Azmi’s safety was now of concern as he had received several death threats following the event. Syed Azmi has lodged a police report over these threats. The co-organsier of the event and social activist Norhayati Ismail said that they did not expect such a huge turnout for the event as they had only anticipated a crowd of about 500 people.
“We take responsibility for this as we did not have enough volunteers to help control the crowd. As such it made it difficult for us to manage the crowd,” she said, adding that they had no intention to allow Muslim participants to touch the dogs. The controversial two-hour event in Bandar Utama last week saw close to 1,500 participants touching and taking pictures with dogs in an attempt to overcome the negative public perception of dogs.