Dogs as unifier

A Slate article on dogs as the great uniter between races and ethnicities, by Ahmed Tharwat, an Arab-American with a beagle:
I discovered that owning a dog easily accomplished what many diversity training programs have failed to do for years. Regardless of our race, color, religion, or country of origin, we were one community of civilized dog lovers.
My Malay teacher once informed me that the general aversion to dogs in the Islamic world is a custom, rather than a dictate of Islam. These articles seem to support that theory, but I honestly don't know enough on the subject.

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