PETA seeks equal time for dogs on cable reality show "All-American Muslim"

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals seek free ad time after a Beagle named Wrigley is sent to an animal shelter.

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PETA's TV spot would inform viewers about a website devoted to Muslims and animal issues, and would feature Muslim-Americans discussing how their religious beliefs have influenced their decision to go vegetarian or to make a lifelong commitment to their companion animals — a commitment that many people with allergies have been able to make by toughing it out or taking medication. PETA's letter is signed by Hanif Akhtar, former president of the Pakistan American Business Association.

"Maybe if more American viewers realized that teachings of compassion for animals are common to all the major faiths — including Islam — they'd be interested in learning what else we all have in common," says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "Promoting understanding is never a bad thing: An individual's race, religion, gender and species should not be a factor in deciding how to treat him or her."

PETA, of course, believes animals should have equal rights with humans. To deny them solely because they aren't humans is "speciesism" -- which PETA ranks right up their with racism.

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An Arab and His Dogs, oil painting by French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904)

"So, what is the Islamic position about dogs?" asks Islamic scholar Ingrid Mattson in the Huffington Post. "In fact, there are a variety of opinions according to different legal schools. The majority consider the saliva of dogs to be impure, while the Maliki school makes a distinction between domestic and wild dogs, only considering the saliva of the latter to be impure. The question for Muslims observant of other schools of law is, what are the implications of such an impurity?

"These Muslims should remember that there are many other impurities present in our homes, mostly in the form of human waste, blood, and other bodily fluids. It is fairly common for such impurities to come in contact with our clothes, and we simply wash them off or change our clothes for prayer. When you have children at home, it sometimes seems you can never get away from human waste. But we manage it, often by designating a special space and clothing kept clean for prayer."

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Rob Kerby
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