MIDDLE EAST

Syrian clerics plead for help after fatwa on eating dogs and cats

Syrian religious clerics hailing from southern Damascus have pleaded for humanitarian help after permitting their followers to eat dogs and cats to stave off deadly hunger. (Reuters)

After issuing religious edicts permitting people to eat dogs and cats, Syrian clerics from southern Damascus have reiterated their plea for humanitarian help in a video aired on Al Arabiya News Channel on Monday.

“How does the world sleep with full stomachs while there are hungry people, and not far from the main city [Damascus], just few meters way,” a leading imam said in a statement, initially broadcasted by the Southern Damascus Media Office.

The imam, accompanied by other religious scholars, said his statement that also represented the views of clerics and Shariah (Islamic law) students from southern Damascus, was for people to know about the dire humanitarian situation in their area.

He said while Muslim pilgrims don their white robes to perform one of Islam’s major tenants in Makkah, the hajj pilgrimage, “there are people who died from hunger, and were dressed with white coffins.”

“Haven’t you heard the fatwas (religious edicts) that have filled our streets and mosques by permitting people to eat cats, dogs and other animals that have already been killed by the bomb attacks?

“Are you waiting for us to eat the flesh of our martyrs and our dead after fearing our lives? … You have forgot that you have brothers and sisters in southern Damascus who are hungry.”

President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have tightened their siege on Southern Damascus throughout the conflict, along with other parts of the capital.

On Friday, fighters loyal to Assad’s regime captured two southern suburbs of Damascus, killing at least 70 people, opposition activists said.

The two suburbs are near Sayida Zainab, a district where a Shiite shrine is located and which the Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite group, Hezbollah and Iraqi fighters have used as a base to deploy in southern Damascus.

The fatwas permitting eating dogs’ and cats’ meat has also been issued by an imam in the Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, according to Asharq al-Awsat.

The Yarmouk camp has been under siege for three months, and humanitarian conditions have deteriorated drastically. The Syrian regime is preventing the entry of food and relief items.

Last year, a similar fatwa was also issued in the city of Homs allowing the consumption of cats, dogs and donkeys.

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Last Update: Monday, 14 October 2013 KSA 22:34 - GMT 19:34
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