Page last updated at 08:45 GMT, Thursday, 17 July 2008 09:45 UK

Mosque hopes for guide dog rule

A guide dog from Leicester could soon be the first in Britain permitted to enter a mosque, imams say.

Seventeen-year-old Mahomed Khatria lost his sight in 2005 and uses his dog, Vargo, to get around but cannot take her into the Al Falah Mosque.

In Islam dogs are regarded as unclean but after a request from Mr Khatria, local imams agreed to review the rules.

Now Vargo is expected to be admitted to a special room and the imams hope this will set a national example.

We are consulting scholars in the UK and abroad to get as wide support as we can
Ibrahim Mogra, Muslim Council of Britain

Ibrahim Mogra, a senior imam at the Muslim Council of Britain, emphasised that Vargo would not be allowed into the mosque's prayer hall and Mr Kharia would be expected to wash before praying.

"We are hoping this mosque will not be the only one," said Mr Mogra. "In fact, had it been a one-off case Mahomed would probably already have been attending.

"But what we are hoping to achieve is that should be almost a blanket rule for every mosque in the United Kingdom."

He admitted that some Muslims may find the idea difficult to accept.

Careful progress

"Which is why we are taking our time and not rushing it through. We are consulting scholars in the UK and abroad to get as wide support as we can and get something in writing as well.

"So if there is any individual who feels uneasy about it, we can provide them with the rulings of these very eminent and prominent scholars so they can be assured."

Mr Khatria said: "I think other mosques will follow but it may take a little longer."


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