The Atlantic

Jordan's 'Holy War on Dogs'

The fatwa to kill wasn’t real, but the consequences were.
Source: Ints Kalnins / Reuters

AMMAN—Jordan’s “holy war against dogs” began in late October, after a two-year-old girl, Malak al-Qaraan, died from a rabid dog’s bite. Malak was outside with her family when a stray dog appeared and bit her face, according to her uncle, 23-year-old Abdullah Rawashdeh. When they got to the hospital, the doctor stitched up her wound without treating or checking her for rabies, Rawashdeh said. Three weeks later, Malak was dead.

Shortly after the death, Jordan’s grand mufti—the country’s top religious scholar—said on a radio show that it’s permissible to kill a dog that’s attacking you, your children or your livestock. Human life is more valuable than animal life, the mufti said. Listeners took his words as a fatwa, an Islamic legal ruling, kicking off a

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