Man behind 'I want to touch a dog' event says sorry, gets 'severe death threats'
He's the man behind the controversial 'I Want To Touch A Dog' event last Sunday (Oct 19).
This morning, Syed Azmi Abhalshi (pic) held a press conference to apologise for the furore that the event caused.
It had started out as a small get-together for those curious about dogs, he said.
The social activist stressed that the programme was meant to be educational - and not to promote liberalism, which certain groups had alleged.
"I organised this event because of Allah, not to deviate the people's faiths, try to change the Islamic rules of law, poke fun at the ulama or encourage pluralism," he said.
The original event last Sunday aimed to dispel negative perception of dogs particularly among Muslims. Photo: The Star/ Facebook
Reading from a press statement, he also admitted that there were weaknesses to the programme, and apologised for the trouble and insensitivities that it had caused.
He then left the press conference abruptly and did not take any questions from the floor, newspaper The Star reported.
His lawyer, Syahredzan Johan said he had to leave for his own safety as he was getting "severe death threats" since the event was held last Sunday at Central Park in Bandar Utama.
The Department of Islamic Development of Malaysia (Jakim) said it would be conducting an investigation.
In retaliation, Malaysian NGO Persatuan Jemaah Pondok-pondok Kedah also proposed a 'Do not go near dogs' campaign.
'I Want To Touch A Dog' event was meant to be educational, its organiser said. Photo: The Star/ Facebook
The original event aimed to dispel negative perception of dogs particularly among Muslims.
It attracted about 800 people - half of them Muslims.
Related report: Hundreds of Muslims show up at 'touch a dog' event in Malaysia