Guide Dogs: Me & My Guide Dog Documentary
Guide Dogs are pleased to announce that their TV documentary ‘Me & My Guide Dog‘ aired on ITV on the 3rd of July, and is now available on ITV Player here. The programme followed owners and their guide dogs through their every day lives, including a guide dog from Leicester that was the first dog to be allowed to enter a UK mosque.
After months of work by Guide Dogs and The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), guide dog Vargo became the first guide dog in the UK to enter a mosque after the Islamic Shari’ah Council issued a historic fatwa stating “a blind person, in the light of Shariah Law, will be allowed to keep a guide dog to help him and if required to take him to the mosque for his prayers”.
In this momentous event (on Wednesday 24 September 2008), Vargo accompanied his 18-year-old owner Mahomed-Abraar Khatri to his local mosque in Leicester, seen as a massive step forward for other blind and partially sighted Muslims. Previously a guide dog had not been able to accompany its owner into a mosque as the Islamic faith recognises dogs as being used for guarding and hunting only. However Vargo – and other guide dogs – are working dogs and so necessary adjustments to encourage independent mobility are supported.
Mahomed-Abraar and his father Gafar attended an event organised by Guide Dogs and MCB in November 2007 – held to increase awareness of how guide dogs help their owners and their high standards of grooming and cleanliness – to ask if Mahomed-Abraar could have a guide dog. Mahomed-Abraar was given the full support of local mosque leaders and the partnership qualified in June 2008; the fatwa allowing Vargo to enter the mosque was issued in September 2008.
Guide Dogs hopes the fatwa and Mahomed-Abraar and Vargo’s story will set a precedent, encouraging other blind and partially sighted Muslims to consider guide dog ownership. It is also hoped that mosque leaders both in the UK and internationally will now make similar adjustments to enable Muslim guide dog owners to enter their mosque.