Why my friend Chetz made that video

FMT LETTER: From Aneesa Alphonsus, via e-mail

Chetz Togom or Maznah Mohd Yusof is my best friend. Today, she’s being harassed, hounded and harangued for a video she made three years ago on how she spent that particular Hari Raya with her dogs. I was there when the video was shot and since TV stations are not taking the trouble to find out why she made that video, I’m going to tell them and all the others who are screaming for Chetz’s blood why she made that video.

It was late morning when she took her dogs for a walk. When she came home, Chetz cleaned herself, then she washed the dogs’ paws as she planned on bringing them into the house for some treats. When I asked her why she did it this way, she said, “No special reason, I just want people to know that having dogs isn’t a dirty thing. We clean them and we clean ourselves well.”

That was it. It has nothing to do with all the fuss about “ambik air sembahyang dengan anjing” (taking abolution with the dogs) that some irresponsible media quarters are harping on as are some bloggers who don’t know head or tail, pun not intended, about the situation.

Then there is the question of the takbir Raya. Chetz put it in the video because it reminds her of her late grandmother who raised her, plus the fact that it is significant to Hari Raya. What is the harm in that? How does this show disrespect to Islam?

I want to add that she has also been given a very hard time by certain individuals who berated her for being a Muslim who rescues and works with dogs. When she shares videos about noted Islamic teachers and scholars speaking about dogs being permissible in Islam, the retorts, among others, include. “ Why must you help dogs? Why can’t you help people?”

So now, Chetz has to help who they think she should? Anyone who knows Chetz will attest to how much respect she has for her faith and religion. She has battled inwardly with several of her choices in regards to helping dogs, and has been troubled numerous times because of this.

It takes courage to do this. It takes courage to go through something like this – to follow what your heart and conscience tells you, to the chagrin of people who react so unfairly to something they don’t care to find out more about.

Chetz is a good person and she has never, not once, said anything against her faith and religion. To think that a harmless video made over three years ago is being dredged up now, makes one wonder why? Why now?

And is the video so offensive that it warrants death threats? Who gives anyone the right to say, “I’m going to find a gun a shoot this person who made the video”? Is it really that severe?

Watch the video again and see for yourself if there is any intent to offend Islam. It saddens and disappoints me that with so many issues that should be brought to the fore, some quarters are choosing to make something out of nothing. This is what the mob mentality is about.

To journalists, news editors, bloggers, Facebook and other social media users, I ask of you, please use discernment and see if something really warrants such a harsh response.

What if it were you, or someone you loved, or someone who know who is being persecuted wrongly? Wouldn’t you wish they were given the proverbial fair trial before judgment? What happened to the being given the benefit of the doubt, or does this not apply when it comes to religion.