The morning was shattered with the horrific news of yet another act of extreme cruelty. Facebook being the alternate engine to mainstream media, word spread like wildfire, with pictures and even video clips telling a story of cruelty, ignorance, incompetence and misconception.
The horrific act took place in the garden of a mosque compound. This compound is made up of several buildings which render services to this fairly new part of north Cairo called District 5 or Tagamo 5. The workers there were given instructions to keep the dogs out of the compound grounds. The prevailing misconception that Islam deems dogs as unclean was probably behind those orders. The ignorance of the workers was the catalyst for the tragedy.
A dog had given birth to five puppies in the garden of this mosque compound. The workers could not remove them out of the garden as ordered, so took matters into their own hands. They took a thick stick and started beating the puppies to death. The mother was barking and screaming seeing her children attacked. This caught the attention of a passer-by who intervened and, with difficulty, managed to save one badly injured puppy. He was threatened by the workers and had to leave. The tragedy did not end there. Later the burnt body of the mother was discovered nearby. It seems she was burnt alive.
The horror is magnified that such acts take place within the vicinity of a house of God where five times per day good people go and pray, where a man of God goes weekly on Fridays to preach the word of God of mercy to all His creatures. That these workers who are supposed to be closest to that spirit can actually behave in such an insanely cruel way is indicative of some really frightening , deeply imbedded festering wounds.
When some ladies deeply involved with animal welfare went to the scene to ascertain what happened and to record it and protest the horrific treatment of these animals, an even more frightening incident occurred. The general public there started being aggressive towards them with false accusations that they were trying to give the mosque a bad name and cast a slur on religion. Before this anger could get out of hand the Imam of the mosque showed up and wisely diffused the situation, gave a short sermon on how truly Islam urges people towards mercy to all God’s living creatures and was even taped doing that.
What remains a huge question mark is why these workers thought that their only option to carry out their orders to clear the dogs out of the compound was through killing them in such a brutal way? Also where are the laws that hold up the rights of these animals to live peacefully? Finally, where is the police in all that?
Before going to the mosque, one of the ladies had advised the local police of the incident and told them that they were going to meet the Imam of the mosque to get to the bottom of it. They were courteous and listened well. That seemed to be the extent of their participation in this affair. There was no showing of any type of law enforcement when these ladies were being harassed by an angry crowd.
This horrific act has uncovered some very disturbing facts about the state of society in Egypt today. The cruelty lying just below the surface in ordinary people who turn to the most horrendous acts of violence as the automatic solution to a problem is a screaming condemnation of the inadequacy of both the education system and the religious teachings in the country. The fact the police could hardly do anything in this case because there are no laws in place that give them the right to arrest the culprit is a condemnation of the judiciary system. The fact that the Imam just barely diffused the situation through the quotation of some pertinent verses of the Koran is a condemnation of the religious authority in not getting through with the true spirit of Islam on a wider basis to the general public.
This terrible act has uncovered some deeply festering wounds in the psyche of our society that need to be addressed very quickly before this rottenness surfaces in the most cruel way possible.