The issue by Maznah has again brought out our polarization. This video by Maznah is supposedly a 3 year old video of a girl greeting Hari Raya with her dogs. And it has caused consternation, to be polite, of the Muslims.
As usual in this racial divide, the Muslims are upset because of a particular reason but the non Muslims (and certain liberal muslims) cannot understand it because they argue based on reasons entirely different from why the Muslims became agitated. Thus we became more polarized than before.
We could have avoided this had we grew up and worked together. Like friends we know what one likes and doesn’t like. We try to empathize and if where possible we advice. But when we can’t empathize, we assume everyone will adopt our views.
This is the sad part of Maznah’s case. It involves a Muslim. In the raya video greeting she was very pally to the dogs like many non Muslims do. She interspersed this with what is apparently an ablution taking and Raya do including the takbir.
Many non Muslims argue that Islam is kind to dogs, or that dogs can be kept by muslims. Some argue that she is even a nice person. And because of this she is not wrong. Muslims here are thus not sensible and tolerant.
But Muslims are not arguing about that. It’s an argument by the non Muslims (including liberal muslims) to defend their own views and values. The non muslims see that if they can have a dog which has been friendly and helpful, then Maznah can’t be wrong. It’s the Muslims who are intolerant.
This is where we just fail to empathize. I think its given in Malaysia that the Muslims here are adversed to dogs. There are many reasons for this and mainly due to religious practice and culture. To most muslims here, they are taught since young that touching a dog’s saliva and wet dog are the highest form of najis. To those uninitiated human feces and urine are regarded as najis. But touching wet dogs or its saliva it is viewed as more dirty than even the feces and requires a different more cumbersome way of cleansing. And without cleansing no muslim can even pray. Thus most if not all Muslims here stay as far as possible from dogs. Some have even stricter view and went to the extent of cleansing whatever things the dogs touch. So you can see now how the Muslims here view things.
Of course there are other views from other Mazhabs. But we’re talking about Muslims here in Malaysia who are mostly Shafiee and how they perceive dogs. Even non Muslims recognise this aversion. My non-Muslim neighbour has two dogs. If I go to their house they will leash or cordon their dogs. And I have no problem of them having dogs and had even fed their pet dog. In fact I’ve become highly appreciative of guard dogs and had employed them at my neighbourhood area of mainly Muslims community. No objection.
But what Maznah did was to many Malaysian Muslims abhorrent. There is no such things, in the mind of Muslims, to have dogs as pets. But she purposely published to the world a video to show how pally she is with her pet dogs and interspersed it with ablution taking and Raya celebration. Where muslims here associate raya to celebrate with their families of their achievement after an ardous month long fasting and religious activities, she is telling us to spend time with the “unclean” dogs knowing full well how adverse Muslims here are to dogs. It doesn’t take a genius to see how this will affront Muslims sensibilities. It doesn’t take much to see that many Muslims here will perceive she’s desecrating a religious and cultural event.
It is immaterial if it was published 3 years ago. Once on Internet you must assume it can be viral. Anyone who publishes to the world must bear the consequence of such publication. One may want more “likes” with one’s publication but one must also accept that people may react the opposite and be angry. Maznah cannot claim she did not intend to insult Muslims when she intended it to be published to the world.
Thus to me Maznah deserves brickbats and rebuke she has been receiving. Though its an old video but it is only now that it has been brought to the attention of many. Thus you see the reaction now rather than then. But I have reservation whether she deserves incarceration. If she shows remorse and apologise for the video, its more than enough for me and I reckon for many as well.