Charity success on guide dogs in mosques

Dogs will be allowed to enter mosques for the first time tomorrow following a charity campaign.

The Islamic Shari'ah Council has issued a fatwa - a legal verdict - allowing guide dogs to accompany blind Muslims to mosques.

This follows campaigning from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and The Muslim Council of Britain.

Vargo will become the first dog allowed inside when he accompanies his 18-year-old owner, Mahomed-Abraar Khatri, to a mosque in Leicester.

However, Vargo will only go as far as the shoe rack. Hygiene concerns mean he will not be allowed into the prayer hall.

Guide Dogs hopes the move will encourage other blind and partially sighted Muslims to consider guide dog ownership.

Bridget Warr, chief executive of Guide Dogs, said the charity decided two years ago to do more to reach minority groups.

Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "I hope this development will help Muslim communities to better understand the teachings of Islam with regards to dogs, especially guide dogs that make such a difference to the quality of life of their owners."

Mohammad Shahid Raza, secretary of the Shari'ah Council, predicted that newly built mosques will be designed with facilities for disabled people.

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