PETALING JAYA: Dog trainer Maznah Mohd Yusof has been arrested following a public outcry over a three-year-old YouTube video showing her bathing her dogs and wishing viewers Selamat Hari Raya.
According to law reform NGO Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), Maznah, or better known as Chetz, was arrested by police around 4.30pm and taken to Bukit Aman for questioning Free Malaysia Today report.
“She called me and said she was being taken to the Bukit Aman commercial crime division. She did say she is under arrest,” lawyer Latheefa Koya told FMT.
Asked if the police were allowed to arrest Chetz before questioning, Latheefa said: “They don’t have the powers. That’s why I need to question them why they arrested her before taking her statement. It is
rather rash of them”.
At 5pm today, LFL tweeted: “Chetz Yusof (dogs in Hari Raya video) just arrested & taken to Bukit Aman, Commercial Crime by MCMC @LatheefaKoya is otw to represent her.”
They also tweeted: “Wah isu pasal ‘hina’ Islam @PDRMsia MCMC cukup rajin & cekap ambik tindakan. Tapi rakyat ditembak mati kiri kanan, jenayah merata2 cam mano? (Wah, when it comes to the issue of insulting religion, the police and MCMC are hardworking and efficient to take action. But when people are shot dead, crime everywhere, what about it?)”.
Muslims shocked and insulted
Earlier today the police confirmed they will investigate Maznah’s video.
The video, which was uploaded three years ago, went viral on social media yesterday, sparking protests among many Malays, who perceive the video as “insulting” to Muslims.
Dang Wangi district police chief ACPT Zainuddin Ahmad told Astro Awani that the case was classified under Section 298 of the Penal Code, which relates to “uttering words, etc,. with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person.”
If found guilty, the offender faces between two to five years in prison.
Several Malay non-governmental organisations (NGO) lodged a police report against Maznah after being “shocked and insulted” to discover the video on their Facebook timeline.
“I, who champion for Islam in this Muslim group, feel the individual has committed a grievous insult towards all Muslims in Malaysia,” reads the report that was lodged at the Dang Wangi police station at 11.27 am today.
“It is not right for the concept of ablution, a method for which Muslims clean themselves, to be equated with washing dogs’ legs. Clearly such an insult is akin to challenging the patience of Muslims, especially in this month of Ramadan.”
The report was lodged by Ruhizat Safie, from self-proclaimed Muslim NGO Pertubuhan Martabat Jalinan Muhibah Malaysia (MJMM), who urged the police to take “stern, drastic action” against Maznah.
The report was supported by other NGOS who claim to represent the majority of the Malays in the country, including Secretariat NGO Negeri Selangor, BATAS Malaysia, and Paduka Master Rock.
MJMM president Abdul Rani Abdullah called for the arrest of the video producers, stressing: “We are angry, insulted and sad. Dogs are dirty in Islam.”
Nevertheless, the Quran makes no mention of dogs being dirty in Islam or to Muslims.
On the contrary, according to ex-Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin, a person who cares for dogs is rewarded in Islam, and hunting dogs is also allowed by the religion.
Maznah has since clarified with the media that her intention was not to insult Muslims and Islam, but to remind them to celebrate Hari Raya with animals as well as humans.
In her Facebook message posted today, she asked: “Is this Islamic? To those who called me a dog, I am very happy to be equated with an amazing creature of God.”
“If you don’t know the nature of true dogs, and don’t bother about it, why do you accuse? It is because of Malay Muslims like these that Islam’s good name is tarnished,” she said.
Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Jailani Johari has also directed the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to take action on the video, as it could affect Muslim sensitivities.
The video, which lasts 1 minute and 44 seconds, shows Maznah strolling near a mosque with three dogs; whilst the ‘takbir raya’ playing in the background.
The video also shows her sharing Raya cookies with the dogs.
It broadcasts the words ‘Raikanlah Aidilfitri bersama-sama, tanpa mengira spesis, warna, asal- usul’ (Celebrate Aidilfitri together irrespective of species, colour and origin) while featuring a shot of the three dogs.