Iranian animal lovers decry proposal to ban pets

An Iranian woman plays with her dog in a yard near her house in northern Tehran, on December 5, 2021. (AFP)
An Iranian woman plays with her dog in a yard near her house in northern Tehran, on December 5, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 12 December 2021

Iranian animal lovers decry proposal to ban pets

An Iranian woman plays with her dog in a yard near her house in northern Tehran, on December 5, 2021. (AFP)

TEHRAN: “No, my cat is not dangerous,” says Iranian animal lover Mostafa, outraged by a proposal from ultraconservative lawmakers to ban pets.

The 25-year-old, who runs a pet supplies shop on busy Eskandari Street in downtown Tehran, is stunned.
“Crocodiles can be called dangerous, but how can rabbits, dogs and cats be dangerous?” he asked incredulously about the bill introduced a month ago.




An Iranian woman poses for a picture with her dog at a park in the capital Tehran, on December 7, 2021. (AFP)


The proposed law pits growing numbers of people with pets against those who consider the practice decadent.
According to media reports, 75 MPs, or one quarter of parliamentarians, recently signed a text entitled “Support for the rights of the population in relation to harmful and dangerous animals”.
In their introduction, the authors condemn the practice of humans living under one roof with domesticated animals as a “destructive social problem”.
The phenomenon, they explain, could “gradually change the Iranian and Islamic way of life” by “replacing human and family relationships with feelings and emotional relationships towards animals”.
The proposed law would prohibit “importing, raising, assisting in the breeding of, breeding, buying or selling, transporting, driving or walking, and keeping in the home wild, exotic, harmful and dangerous animals”.
It lists the animals to be banned as “crocodiles, turtles, snakes, lizards, cats, mice, rabbits, dogs and other unclean animals as well as monkeys.”
Offenders would risk a fine equivalent to 10 to 30 times the “minimum monthly working wage” of about $98 and the “confiscation” of the animal.
In addition, vehicles used to transport the animal would be confiscated for three months.
While Iran is engaged in difficult negotiations on its nuclear program and enduring a painful economic downturn because of US sanctions, the bill has sparked criticism in the press, mockery on social networks and anger among residents of the capital.
“These projects will certainly cause chaos, corruption and collective disobedience to this law because... living with animals is now a cultural phenomenon,” warned the reformist daily Shargh.




An Iranian woman walks her dog in a park in the capital Tehran. (AFP)


Some internet users reacted with irony and sarcasm.
“How many times have cats sought to devour you so that you consider them wild, harmful and dangerous?” journalist Yeganeh Khodami asked on Twitter.
Another posted a photo of his kitten with the message: “I have renamed my cat ‘Criminal’ since I heard this proposed law.”
An actress who asked to remain anonymous said she had planned a demonstration against the pet ban plan in front of parliament but then dropped the idea because of pressure on her.
In the face of the public outcry, few parliamentarians are willing to strongly defend the bill.
“I agree with the project in general, but I certainly disagree with some of its clauses,” said the head of parliament’s judicial commission, Moussa Ghazanfarabadi, who signed the text.
“It is just a bill, but whether it succeeds is another matter,” he told AFP.
Another lawmaker from Tehran, the environmentalist Somayeh Rifiei, said she believes that a law is needed on which animals can be kept, and which cannot.
“No one can deny the services that animals provide to humans, but this area must be regulated,” she said. “That is the basis of social life.”
She said that, aside from the pet ban bill, “the government has drafted a bill that gives special attention to biodiversity and wildlife. It deals with both animal rights and human rights.
“Basically, I would prefer to see this bill on the agenda rather than a proposal that focuses only on criminalisation.”
On Eskandari Street, vendors fear the consequences of any such law.
“It might destroy thousands of jobs,” said Mohsen, 34.
His wife Mina, said she was more worried about her dog.
“Why should I imprison him at home?” she said of her canine companion. “The MPs probably assume that young couples today don’t have children because they have a pet dog, but that’s stupid.
“It’s not the dogs but the economic conditions that don’t allow us to have children,” she added.
“At one time they banned satellite television, yet people continued to use it, but with fear and anxiety. People will keep their animals at home to protect them.”


Egypt finishes first in 2022 Arab Open Robotics Championship

Egypt finishes first in 2022 Arab Open Robotics Championship
Updated 05 July 2022

Egypt finishes first in 2022 Arab Open Robotics Championship

Egypt finishes first in 2022 Arab Open Robotics Championship
  • The tournament included over 650 students representing 136 teams from 12 Arab countries

LONDON: Egypt has finished in first place at the 2022 Arab Open Robotics Championship held in Sharm El Sheikh on Monday.

Since 2008, the Arab Open Robotics Championship has been the largest regional robotics tournament held in the Arab world.

The tournament was organized by the Ministries of Youth and Sports, Communications and Information Technology, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and the Egyptian Federation of Electronic Games.

The tournament included over 650 students ranging in age from four years to the end of the university stage.

The participants represented 136 teams from 12 Arab countries: Egypt, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, Yemen, Qatar, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Iraq, and Libya.

The Arab Robotics Association accredited 100 juries to judge the tournament's nine robot competitions.

Egypt came first, winning seven trophies. Jordan finished second with two trophies, followed by Iraq, Libya and Qatar in third place.

In addition, the tournament hosted a lively forum for Arab youth on the sidelines.

The tournament aims to improve participants' skills in engineering sciences, electronics, programming, and artificial intelligence, the Qatar News Agency reported.

It also aims to foster a creative spirit among robotics participants while highlighting the abilities of those interested in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics.


Blackburn Rovers to host Eid-Al-Adha prayers at Ewood Park

Blackburn Rovers to host Eid-Al-Adha prayers at Ewood Park
Updated 05 July 2022

Blackburn Rovers to host Eid-Al-Adha prayers at Ewood Park

Blackburn Rovers to host Eid-Al-Adha prayers at Ewood Park
  • 3,000 people are expected to attend the event

LONDON: Blackburn Rovers will once again be opening their doors to the Muslim community to host the Eid-Al-Adha prayer on Saturday.

Rovers became the first football club in the UK to host the Eid Al-Fitr prayers in May, which marked the end of Ramadan.

The event will begin at 9.30 a.m. local time at Ewood Park. More than 3,000 people are expected to attend the event.

"Eid @ Ewood Park" is open to all ages, with facilities for both men and women to pray on the pitch.

There will also be free on-site parking and a complimentary bus service. The event is supported by "Eid in the Park," a three-day festival held in four different locations across the UK.

As such, the event will follow Saudi Arabia for moonsighting.


Indonesia school helps students recite Qur'an in sign language

Indonesia school helps students recite Qur'an in sign language
Updated 05 July 2022

Indonesia school helps students recite Qur'an in sign language

Indonesia school helps students recite Qur'an in sign language
  • Hearing-impaired students typically take about five years to learn to recite and memorize the Qur'an at the school

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia: Concerned about how Indonesian students with hearing impairments often miss out on religious education, cleric Abdul Kahfi founded an Islamic boarding school to help them study and recite scripture from the Qur'an using sign language.
Opened in 2019 in the city of Yogyakarta in central Java, the Darul A’shom school now has 12 staff and teaches 115 students aged between seven and 28 years from across the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.

This picture taken on June 22, 2022 shows students studying at an Islamic boarding school for deaf children in Sleman. (AFP)

Abdul hopes the school will make it easier for future generations to learn about Islam.
“Nowadays hearing-impaired adults barely know religion in depth because from school age they have never learned about it,” said the cleric, noting how interest in his school had spread quickly.
In Indonesia, the curriculum in public schools provides limited religious teaching to children with special needs, starting at the age of eight or nine rather than at kindergarten as is the case for many other students.
Only three out of 10 children with disabilities in Indonesia are able to go to school, according to a survey by the United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF).

This picture taken on June 22, 2022 shows students learning to recite the Koran using sign language at an Islamic boarding school for deaf children in Sleman. (AFP)

Hearing-impaired students typically take about five years to learn to recite and memorize the Qur'an at the school.
“Now I am able to read and memorize 30 juz (parts) of the Qur'an,” said Muhammad Farhad, a 10-year-old student, who said he wanted to become a cleric one day so he can pass on his knowledge to others.
Indonesia has tens of thousands of Islamic boarding schools and other religious schools that often provide the only way for children from poorer families to get an education.


Posh paws: UAE pet shop launches $10,000 diamond dog collars

The UAE’s Pet Corner store has launched a must-have accessory for all the posh pooches out there. (Shutterstock)
The UAE’s Pet Corner store has launched a must-have accessory for all the posh pooches out there. (Shutterstock)
Updated 04 July 2022

Posh paws: UAE pet shop launches $10,000 diamond dog collars

The UAE’s Pet Corner store has launched a must-have accessory for all the posh pooches out there. (Shutterstock)

DUBAI: The UAE’s Pet Corner store has launched a $10,000 accessory for all the posh pooches out there – a diamond-studded dog collar.

The collars will go on sale as part of the chain’s new Pet Corner Elite Club offering, which features a range of luxury accessories.

(Supplied)

Billed as the UAE’s first diamond and gemstone studded exquisite collars for dogs of small to medium breeds, the Haute Hound collection features a bow-shaped centerpiece brooch with 2.6 carats of certified natural diamonds and 6-7 carats of natural rubies encrusted in 18 carat gold.

Priced from $ 10,074 upwards, every collar comes with a certificate of authenticity, diamond grading and gemstone identification.

“Dogs are man's best friends and diamonds/gems are truly one of nature's most precious and beautiful creations — making it a perfect accessory for any pooch. We see our customers wanting only the best for their precious pets. This collection offers comfort and style to make any pup stand out from the crowd. We will be introducing many more elite products and supplies in the coming months,” Sidarth Mahindra, Pet Corner’s chief pet officer, said.


Flamethrower used to torch Pan-African flag flying on pole in Florida

Flamethrower used to torch Pan-African flag flying on pole in Florida
Updated 03 July 2022

Flamethrower used to torch Pan-African flag flying on pole in Florida

Flamethrower used to torch Pan-African flag flying on pole in Florida
  • Group likens attack to the massacre of 10 Black people at a supermarket Buffalo, New York in May

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida: A person using a flamethrower set fire Saturday to a Pan-African flag flying on a pole outside the headquarters of the Uhuru Movement, a Black international socialist group based in Florida.
Security video released by the group shows the driver of a white Honda sedan pulling up outside the group’s St. Petersburg headquarters, removing a flamethrower from the trunk and shooting a tower of fire at the flag flying about 30 feet (9 meters) above the ground. The group says the man stopped when a worker inside the building yelled at him. The video shows him putting the flamethrower back in the trunk and then driving away. A photo supplied by the group shows the flag with a large hole.
St. Petersburg police said they are investigating the fire and are working to identify a suspect.
The Uhuru Movement is part of the African People’s Socialist Party, which says it is “uniting African people as one people for liberation, social justice, self-reliance and economic development.”
Akile Akai, the group’s director of agitation and propaganda, said the attack is in the same vein as the May killing of 10 Black people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket. Police say the arrested suspect in the Buffalo massacre is a white nationalist.
Akai said such attacks are caused by the decline of a “social system and facade of normalcy based on oppression, colonialism and exploitation.”