I don't hate your dog; I promise.

I don't hate you. Or your dog. I promise. I don't think he's a nuisance nor do I think he's the devil.

You might be thinking.: why is this Muslim girl denouncing such bizarre things? Well here's the thing, many ethnic-looking-seemingly-Arab-people have gotten the reputation that we hate dogs. I think to a certain extent, this idea has has extended to all animals. And, I think this is a shame.

We don't hate animals. Actually we love them.

I can cite many sacred stories that show how important animals are to us and how their care and appreciation is crucial to our faith. But I won't. This is not a religious matters. This is a social one. Onwards. 

My grandmother moves to the opposite sidewalk if there are dogs on the side she's been walking on. Sometimes she even utters something under her breath.

I think quite a few "ethnic looking people" have done this before. The bottom line is: it's been done enough times for dog owners to notice that "ethnic looking people" seem to not like dogs. And dog owners often pride themselves in their dogs. See the problem?

As an "ethnic seeming person" and someone who tries to glue the world together, I've fallen into the habit of being super nice to dogs in public. 

In order to compensate and do damage control, I now go out of my way to pet people's dogs and baby talk to them to show people that not all Arab people hate dogs.

As a matter of fact, it's become a family affair. When we moved to a homogeneously white neighbourhood the first thing my dad did was ask all there is to know about our new neighbours dogs. Gender. Breed. EVERYTHING.

So, of course, I will smile at your dog (and you) so that I try, in my own mildly pathetic way, to prove to you that my religion does not teach me to hate dogs (or animals) and on behalf of my grandmother and everyone who utters curses against your dog, I apologize.

So yes. I'd love to pet Oreo or Twinkie or PICO.