Sadly in this world there are people who believe that following the letter of religious law is more important than safety or even life itself, see my article The Chassid Shoteh - the Pious Fools of the World.
Jewish Law allows exceptions when the life and safety of the individual is concerned. For example, the Jewish Kashrut Laws regarding the prohibition on eating pork and shellfish certainly would not apply to a Jew on a deserted island filled only with wild boar and lined with crabs.
Unfortunately, the selfish, uncaring, foolishly-pious Muslim parents of Mona Ramouni would not permit her to have a seeing-eye dog her whole life because they considered the animal unclean. Instead the poor blind girl had to get a seeing-eye horse. That's right - a seeing-eye horse, no joke (1). Some of my readers will offer the excuse that these parents are no doubt from a very backward country with primitive superstitions and unbearable peer pressure from the culture in which they live. Surprise: these morons live in Dearborn, Michigan here in the enlightened US of A. Only shows: even Muslims in America are blind - and I'm not talking about Mona.
However, not all Muslims are morons and idiots: The Muslim Law Council (Shariah) UK issued a fatwa allowing an 18-year-old young man to take his dog with him to a local mosque (2). The dog however cannot enter the prayer hall but must be kept in a gated area near the entrance where other filthy things like shoes are kept. What is not known is whether this blind Muslim keeps his dog inside his home or if he lives with his parents.
A blind Muslim woman in Australia had to overcome hostility to the idea of a seeing-eye dog but finally got one (3). Sadly, the dog sleeps in a shed outside the home so the woman has to go outside the house to get to her dog.
The example of the UK fatwa should give blind Muslims hope that sanity and common sense will over-rule ancient and barbaric traditions and laws. We live in a modern world and the customs of desert-dwelling, caravan-looting, goat-shagging, slave-keeping marauders and thugs must be abandoned.
The Freethinker, 14 Nov 2010, Denied a guide dog by devout parents, Muslim woman buys seeing-eye horse
A blind Muslim woman had to make do without a guide dog her whole life because her devout parents would not allow a dog in the house, considering the animal unclean.
But then, according to this report (4), Mona Ramouni learned about miniature guide horses.
The psychology student, from Dearborn in Michigan, used three years of savings from her job at a Braille proofreading company to pay for a horse to be trained to act as her guide.
Religion News Blog, 25 Sep 2008, British Muslim body OKs taking guide dog to mosque
The Muslim Law Council (Shariah) UK issued a fatwa allowing 18-year-old Mahomed-Abraar Khatri to take his dog with him to the Bilal Jamia Mosque in the English city of Leicester, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of London.
“I hope it will should open up some doors and let other people to get a dog and not be worried of any religious aspects behind it,” Khatri told British Broadcasting Corp. television in an interview broadcast Wednesday.
The Age, 7 Apr 2011, Fresh thinking helps blind Muslims tackle dog taboo
FOR blind Muslims Neslihan Sari and Karima Shirzad, fulfilling their wish for a guide dog meant navigating a cultural minefield.
They longed for greater independence but felt trapped by the Islamic prohibition on pet dogs, described in the teachings as ''unclean''. This led each on a critical journey through Koranic scripture - and into sometimes painful conflict with family members reluctant to welcome a dog into the fold.
Both women ultimately prevailed. Ms Sari's mother gave her blessing after ''a bit of tears and arguments'' and after a trainer brought around two dogs that impressed as placid and obedient. And as Ms Shirzad's suffering intensified, her sibling's resolve melted.
Says Ms Shirzad: ''I live alone now, and after I moved in my father built Tashi a beautiful bedroom in a shed.''
Cali measures about 2ft 6in tall and has been taught to stand still indoors. She also helps Miss Ramouni get out of vehicles and move through crowds.
Her proud mistress said: 'She is an awesome little horse. What I really want is to be able to take her places neither of us would have been able to go without each other.
'Before Cali, I had given up. I got to the point where I thought, 'I'm going to get nothing out of my life'. Cali has given me the confidence back I used to have as a kid.'
Born three months premature, Miss Ramouni lost her sight shortly after birth.
Among the challenges she had to overcome in order for Cali to stay at her home were getting a permit to place a large shed in her family's garden and to find a farrier to look after the horse's hooves.