KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 – The Malaysia Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) will meet with the organisers of the ‘I Want To Touch A Dog’ programme on Nov 6 to get an explanation on it. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said the meeting in Putrajaya would also be attended by officials from the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS).

“We want to understand why the programme was organised and if there is any hidden agenda because generally, people know that it is not allowed to intentionally touch a dog. “Although Islam is a religion that accepts all beings, including dogs, there are limits to loving them (the dogs),” he told reporters after opening a seminar on family ties, here, today.

Jamil Khir said Jakim did not have the authority to determine any legal action as it was only an intermediary body, while religious matters were under the Islamic religious department and council of each state. “In the context of the law, there is nothing that says a person cannot touch a dog, but there are other provisions which state that you have to abide by the fatwa issued by the mufti in each state (on touching a dog), that is what we have to consider…we want to listen to the explanation first,” he said.

He also urged the Islamic religious departments and councils in the country to be aware of programmes being held to ensure these would not be in conflict with Islamic teachings. “In future, we have to be aware, because this affects the sensitivities of the community and people consider this a provocation,” he said. The ‘I Want To Touch A Dog’ programme which was held on Oct 19 at Central Park, One Utama, Petaling Jaya, created a furore among the public, especially Muslims as it was seen as contradicting the rules of the Shafie sect and customs in the country.

Its organiser Syed Azmi Alhabshi apologised last Saturday for the uneasiness caused by some participants hugging and petting dogs during the programme. Earlier, Jamil Khir launched the Family, Social and Community Service Centre to be opened at the Urban Transformation Centres and Rural Transformation Centres for the public to get counselling on family issues.

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