A new inclusive mosque in Cape Town is receiving criticism for planning to welcome gays, lesbians and non-Muslims.
The ‘open mosque’, which is set to open its doors on Friday on Lester Road in Wynberg, will also allow women to lead prayers and to play a part in its running.
The gay-friendly mosque is the brainchild of Cape Town born imam and Oxford University professor Taj Hargey, who believes that Islam needs to evolve into a more progressive and modern religion.
According to Eye Witness News, he’s slammed his critics as being chauvinistic, out of touch with the 21st century and being part of a “theological mafia.”
Hargey said that, “We are not going to ask whether you’ve paid your child maintenance, who you slept with last night or what divergent of Muslim you are. If you come there in peace, you are warmly welcome.”
He went on to say: “I decided that being Cape Town born I had to something. We had a political evolution in this country 20 years ago and what we need now is a religious revolution, especially in the Muslim community.”
The Cape Times reports that many members of the community are outraged at the plans and have dubbed the mosque a “gay temple” and have called Hargey a homosexual and a heretic.
He insists that he follows the Qur’an and not the Shariah moral code, which he described as “not God’s law” but “a concoction of medieval interpretations.”
As for his personal views on homosexuality, Hargey told the Times: “I do not endorse homosexual living, but I do not condemn them as people. We will, however, welcome gay people and discuss topical subjects like sexuality, politics and others.”
Disturbingly, Hargey also told The Telegraph that he has received “a lot of death threats” in response to the mosque’s opening.
“South Africans have become Arabised, they think they must wear the burka, must have face masks, that men must wear pyjama dresses. They think that is the only version of Islam,” he said.
On Friday, the Muslim Judicial Council commented that it was investigating reports about the mosque but has not issued a formal statement. Hargey says that he is operating independently of the council’s authority and rules.
Cape Town-based LGBT Muslim group, The Inner Circle (TIC), which is coincidentally located on the same street as the mosque, issued a statement clarifying that it had nothing to do with its opening.
“A rumour has spread that TIC is opening a ‘gay mosque’, this is untrue,” it said. The group, while supporting inclusion and stating that a “mosque should be a safe space for everyone,” added that it would not “support separatism based on difference” or “a special mosque for gay people.”