GEORGETOWN, March 9 – A non-government organisation (NGO) in Penang has slammed a Facebook page administrator for stirring up racial and political sentiments by claiming that a charity adoption event held last week in George Town was an event for Muslims to touch dogs. Save Our Strays (SOS) Penang said the allegation was untrue, taking offence at the posting on the page called ‘Penang Kini’ today.
The NGO’s spokesperson, who declined to be named, questioned the intention of the page administrator, who had uploaded a posting that read: “Panas!!! Program orang Islam peluk anjing dah menular ke Penang. Mana Malik Kassim?” (Hot!!! Muslim dog hugging programme has spread to Penang. Where is Malik Kassim?) Malik Kassim refers to Penang religious exco Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim of PKR.
The posting came with a photo of a young woman with a white headscarf posing for a picture while carrying a mongrel puppy at the event held at Penang Times Square from March 4 to 8. The spokesperson said that the event was a charity programme organised by Han Chiang College students with SOS Penang to promote adoption of strays as pets instead of buying from pet shops.
“It was clearly not an event for Muslims. Why did Penang Kini say it was? Why is Penang Kini stirring it up into something racial and political? “What is the agenda of the page’s administrator? What do they stand to gain from this? We demand they publicly apologise to the students who were trying to do something good,” she told The Malaysian Insider today.
The posting had caused uproar on social media today with hundreds of people commenting on the matter. Many of the comments were political and with a racial tone. Although most Facebook users attacked the woman in the photo, calling her stupid and ridiculed her for alleged lack of faith, there were also others who slammed the page’s administrator.
Last year, when activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi held the controversial “I want to touch a dog” event in Kuala Lumpur, which was open to everyone including Muslims, it outraged many Malays, who felt it was an insult to Islam. He was criticised and turned into a villain, despite his good intention to educate and help people overcome their fear of dogs and learn compassion for all animals, which Islam teaches.