UK: Despite Muslim objections, sniffer dogs to be used

Questions have been raised over using sniffer dogs to search Muslim passengers at train stations following complaints that it is against their religion.

Some Muslims had raised objections over being searched by the explosive-detecting animals, but British Transport Police have said they will continue to use the specially trained animals.

Dogs are considered to be unclean or impure in Islamic teaching and it is forbidden to keep the animals as pets.

Some Muslims have objected to being searched by sniffer dog due to their religious beliefs

The complaints came after a rail security trial at Brighton station, the Government revealed.

The Muslims reported that it was not permissible for them to have direct contact with dogs due to their religious or cultural beliefs.

In another trial on the Heathrow Express platform at London's Paddington station, there were instances when the body scan was considered unacceptable on religious grounds by female Muslims, the Government report said.

The report - on five rail security trials conducted in 2006 and the public's response to them - also showed:

  • Some Asians and black people felt they could be selected for tests because of their ethnicity "or because their appearance fell in line with screening staff perceptions of a terrorist".
  • Being selected for screening was an "embarrassment for Asian respondents in particular".
  • Some people were uncomfortable about giving their personal details to BTP officers, as they were not sure why they were needed, or how they would be used.
  • Some Muslims said they would avoid using a station with sniffer dogs because of their religious beliefs, while some young males, both black and white, said they would also avoid some stations as they feared the dogs would be able to detect drugs as well as explosives.

Asked if the findings would lead to certain measures not being used on certain people, a BTP spokesman said: "The legislation applies to everyone. It's not a case for exemptions.

"Officers will be sensitive where appropriate but obviously there are practical implications."

He added: "These dogs do not have to be clawing and barking up at people. These are highly trained dogs that can pick up scents from distance. There doesn't always have to be physical contact."

Source: Daily Mail (English)


Abdassamad Clarke said...

The dog is not universally considered unclean in Islam. Imam Malik considered the dog and its saliva to be pure, deriving his proof from the Qur'an, because in it Allah permits us to eat the meat of animals caught for us by hunting dogs, and there is no record of the companions insisting on washing the meat of the animals thus caught. Abdassamad Clarke

Daphne said...

Muhammad was superstitious regarding dogs. He disliked them intensely and would have ordered the killing of all dogs except that they were used for hunting
and made a concession

"to keep the dog for hunting and for security of the herd, and said: When the dog licks the utensil, wash it seven times, and rub it with earth the eighth time."
Muslim 055

He was very superstitious about black dogs
"It is your duty to kill the jet-black dog having two spots on the eyes for it is a devil."
Muslim 3813