“I’d Pick A Dog Over My Mother-In-Law”
A family’s vacation was ruined, depending on one’s perspective: either by Salafi hatred of dogs, or by Salafi brainwashing of the elderly, or possibly by both.
This story comes via my wife, who heard all the details during her girls night out at her friend Ambrine’s home. To quote Ambrine: “Between my son’s dog and my fanatical mother-in-law, I would choose the dog everyday of the week”.
Ambrine’s crisis started when her 70-something mother-in-law (who recently moved in) got into a shouting match with Ambrine’s son Azhar over… a puppy dog. The poor boy, a college freshman, has anxiety issues. His therapist on campus recommended a pet. So, come winter break, the boy showed up proudly with his new dog “Binni” – only to trigger a war of the worlds caused by his grandmother being brainwashed to adopt Salafi hatred of dogs.
Grandmother Brainwashed By Salafi Preachers
The grandmother has been binge-watching hate preachers like Zakir Naik on satellite TV and reading their books in the evening. She has gradually been turning into a Salafi zealot under the influence of the likes of Zakir Naik without even noticing it. Salafis hatred of dog is caused by their belief, based on a few hadiths, that dogs are impure animals.
Salafi Hatred of Dogs Is A Matter of Faith
As long as a dog is in a home, they claim, angels won’t enter it, and thus the 5-time daily prayers will be void. And since Salafis are about the literal and blind obedience of texts and pride themselves on refusing to re-interpret the texts, their hatred of dogs is irrevocable and non-negotiable. Their logic here is that since prayer is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, then having anything that could invalidate prayers is a mortal sin. Some would go as far as declare one an apostate for refusing to remove the dogs while knowing they invalidate prayers.
“No, I will not be in a home where the angels can’t enter,” exclaimed the grandmother when she first caught sight of little Binni. “Get that filthy beast out of here immediately!”
Unable to comprehend what he was dealing with, Azhar fired back: “What a load of crock, it’s just a dog. Wake up, Grandma, we’re not in Pakistan anymore!
Azhar’s father (completely under his mother’s thumb) began yelling hysterically at the poor boy: “You cannot talk to your elders like that! This is your grandmother, you are a disgrace to us all. Who do you think you are?”
Between A Rock And A Hard Place
Ambrine found herself between a rock and a hard place. She couldn’t defy her husband and mother-in-law by openly siding with her son, but she couldn’t let down her baby boy down either. So she did what most couples do in these cases: she whisked Azhar away to buy time. Then she waited till she and her husband were alone and gave Mr. Ambrine (who shall remain nameless) a piece of her mind: “Are you nuts to allow your mother to further traumatized the boy with this nonsense?” As a result, all hell broke loose..
“She is right, dogs are filthy, we are Muslims and we cannot allow our children to start behaving like that. I will not allow my child to disrespect my mother under my roof. Never!”
“Have you seen the stuff she’s been watching on her iPad and the books she has been reading? You can’t just ignore that she’s becoming a fanatic!!”
“That’s not the issue. We have to respect our elders and our religion. If we let this slide, next thing he will be yelling at you. I can never allow this dishonor and disgrace to befall our family’s good name!”
Family Ties Ruined By Salafi Preachers
“Your mother’s mind is being poisoned and she is in turn poisoning our family life. What do you expect us to do? Kick out our own son over this and further traumatize him? Ruin our family vacation because of some 2-bit medieval fanatic preacher’s crazy ideas?”
It turns that the Salafi hatred of dogs is infectious..
“The only one who has to go is that filthy dog!”
“You should talk to your mom. She needs to understand that Azhar was born here, and in America people keep pets including dogs. He needs attention as it is, not to pile up on him. You need to get her off of that diet of hate she’s been consuming. I will not tolerate the Taliban under my roof!”
“What the hell are you saying? My mother is the Taliban? Have you lost your mind?”
“No, you have lost your mind because you are barely ever here, you’re not the one who has to listen day in and day out to her YouTube videos about hellfire and Jinns . I don’t want that filth in my home! Get your mom in order before this stuff begins affecting our little Zainab!”
The Islamists Are Winning.. For Now
After that blow up, the matter remained unresolved. Until Azhar returned to campus for the new semester, Ambrine’s mother-in-law kept calling names while the husband silently abetted her. Azhar ended up spending most of his time trying to avoid everyone by taking Binni on long walks and sleeping over at friends’ homes. Ambrine’s mother-in-law meanwhile continues to watch her hate preachers and consume her Salafi books.
What a disaster! And this scene is being repeated in homes throughout our communities. Although, on the face of it this is about Salafi hatred of dogs, it’s troubling how easily Islamists can poison the lives of ordinary families by exploiting people’s well-meaning piety as a weapon to control their minds. Instead of spreading love and compassion, they inflict hate and heartache.