The Australian (hat tip Religion of Peace) has a moving report on the humane efforts of Australian Federal Police officer Narelle Jensz to rescue Afghan dogs -- viewed as "unclean" in Islam, and therefore wantonly brutalized by local Muslims.
In her 10-month tour, the 37-year-old has treated countless dogs and successfully adopted 15 Afghan strays out to returned coalition soldiers across the world, many of whom have testified to the rehumanising impact of their animal companions.
The following extracts from "The Life of Wylie," an Afghan mutt rescued by Jensz, are prototypical of the cruelty our Afghan Muslim allies mete out to innocent dogs, especially those of Kandahar, as the Australian relates,
....many of whom despise dogs only marginally less than they do coalition soldiers
Wylie, the Afghan mutt, was rescued in February by a convoy of British soldiers on patrol in a Kandahar bazaar, where a dog-fighting crowd was beating the smaller dog with lumps of wood to force the last fight out of him.
That beating turned out to be the least horrific brutality this resilient canine would suffer over the following weeks, and months:
Remarkably he did but his torments were far from over.
Two weeks later Jensz received another call. Local dog fighters had cut off Wylie's ears and had scalped him in the process, before using the same homemade knife to cut his muzzle wide open from his nose to under his eye. He was patched up again by Jensz and a team of Australian Defence Force doctors only to return from his perilous forays outside the base with new injuries -- a stab wound to the chest and a savagely docked tail.
Then, horrifically, one day he limped back to the camp after Kandahar locals -- many of whom despise dogs only marginally less than they do coalition soldiers -- had tried to sever his penis. Three times Jensz and ADF doctors had to restitch the wound. "Once we stitched for 90 minutes without anaesthetic," she said. "I can't fathom how much pain he must have been in but he just lay there motionless, looking up at us. He didn't bite or growl once."
Wylie's refusal to submit became legendary around the Kandahar base.
But when he was grabbed again by local thugs and thrown under a passing car it seemed his luck had finally run out. "It was the first time I felt defeated because Wylie had become a symbol of Kandahar," Jensz said. "So many soldiers identified with him but I just couldn't work out how to keep this dog alive. That was the day I decided I had to take him with me."
With the help of a British and a US soldiers' animal companion fund, Wylie was evacuated to London via Kabul six weeks ago to begin the long road of quarantine hurdles that Jensz hopes will eventually bring him to Australia and her wildlife rescue property just outside Canberra.
The compassionate Jensz's eyewitness narrative is (or certainly should be) a cautionary tale recalls the ugly irredentism British historian Mary Boyce recorded in the early 1960s. Boyce, Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies and a pre-eminent scholar of Zoroastrianism, spent a 12-month sabbatical in 1963-64 living in the Zoroastrian community of Iran (mostly in Sharifabad, on the northern Yazdi plain). During a lecture series given at Oxford in 1975, she noted how the Iranian ancestors of the Zoroastrians had a devoted working relationship (i.e., herding livestock) with dogs when they lived a nomadic existence on the Asian steppes. This sustained contact evolved over generations such that dogs became "a part in (Zoroastrian) religious beliefs and practices...which in due course became a part of the heritage of Zoroastrianism." Boyce then provided an historical overview of the deliberate, wanton cruelty of Iranian Muslims toward dogs in Iran, including a personal eyewitness account:
In Sharifabad the dogs distinguished clearly between Moslem and Zoroastrian, and were prepared to go...full of hope, into a crowded Zoroastrian assembly, or to fall asleep trustfully in a Zoroastrian lane, but would flee as before Satan from a group of Moslem boys...The evidence points...to Moslem hostility to these animals having been deliberately fostered in the first place in Iran, as a point of opposition to the old (pre-Islamic jihad conquest) faith (i.e., Zoroastrianism) there. Certainly in the Yazdi area...Moslems found a double satisfaction in tormenting dogs, since they were thereby both afflicting an unclean creature and causing distress to the infidel who cherished him. There are grim...stories from the time (i.e., into the latter half of the 19th century) when the annual poll-tax (jizya) was exacted, of the tax gatherer tying a Zoroastrian and a dog together, and flogging both alternately until the money was somehow forthcoming, or death released them. I myself was spared any worse sight than that of a young Moslem girl...standing over a litter of two-week old puppies, and suddenly kicking one as hard as she could with her shod foot. The puppy screamed with pain, but at my angry intervention she merely said blankly, "But it's unclean." In Sharifabad I was told by distressed Zoroastrian children of worse things: a litter of puppies cut to pieces with a spade-edge, and a dog's head laid open with the same implement; and occasionally the air was made hideous with the cries of some tormented animal. Such wanton cruelties on the Moslems' part added not a little to the tension between the communities.