In Malaysia, something as innocent and adorable as dogs can easily turn into quite a delicate subject, especially when the topic of Malaysian Muslims gets thrown into the equation. Traditionally, Muslims in Malaysia tend to have a skewed perception against dogs because of how it is perceived in Islam, according to the school of thought they‘re subscribed to (Sha’ffi) — which states that dogs are haram and therefore cannot be touched. Naturally, a sight of a Muslim socializing with dogs is hence unprecedented and even frowned upon.
However, no religion encourages cruelty or discrimination against animals, and if anything, it's all just a flaw of interpretation. Nowadays, if you scroll through Malaysian TikTok you'll see quite a consistent content of Malaysian Muslims re-educating themselves and realizing that dogs are not to be feared but to be cared for. One instance would be @bambob77 on TikTok, a humble Malaysian man who regularly records himself feeding and taking care of stray animals around the streets of Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
Known simply as Bam Bob or Abang Bob, he'd often go out of his ways preparing multiple designated food stations for stray animals. In one of his videos, he can be seen hanging out with a stray dog which he calls Ah Boy—a refreshing sight to see.
We applaud Abang Bob for his admirable compassion towards stray animals and his bravery in defying stereotypes. He might not know it, but people like him are such an important catalyst in demolishing the outdated notion in Malaysia that dogs, especially strays don't deserve empathy, much less a second look.