Puppies on police postcards prove offensive for UK Muslims

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London, July 2 : Muslims living in UK's Dundee area have complained over a police advertisement featuring a puppy sitting on an officer's hat.

A police force has apologised to Islamic leaders for the "offensive" postcard advertising a new non-emergency telephone number, which shows a six-month-old trainee police dog named Rebel.

As part of a campaign to publicise its new non-emergency telephone number, Tayside Police used a picture of a black puppy, Rebel, on postcards to be distributed throughout the east coast region, Scotsman.com reported.

The German shepherd puppy has proved hugely popular with the public, hundreds of who have logged on to the force's website to read his online training diary.

However, following the intervention of Dundee councillor Mohammed Asif, who warned police that the image would "not be welcomed" by some communities, the force described the publicity drive as an "oversight".

Asif, a member of the Tayside Joint Police Board, raised the matter on Monday after claiming that members of the city's 3,000-strong Muslim community had brought the potentially offensive nature of the postcards to his attention.

Traditionally, dogs have been seen as impure, and the Islamic legal tradition has developed several injunctions that warn Muslims against most contact with them.

Conservative Muslims have long-regarded dogs as unclean animals, but the issue can polarise opinion.

According to one hadith, a traditional story of the Prophet, Muhammad said a Muslim loses credit for one good deed each day he keeps a dog, and even said they should be killed unless used for hunting or protection.

Still, in another instance, Muhammad said that a prostitute who carried water in her slipper to a thirsty dog would go to heaven, her sins forgiven because of her kindness.

The Muslim Council of Britain recently carried out a review of Islamic teaching on dogs, and supported their use for hunting or as guide dogs.

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