Cape Town’s controversial “gay-friendly” Open Mosque won’t shut down despite an arson attack over the weekend.
It was reported that the front door of the Wynberg mosque was set alight at around 1am on Saturday morning. Windows were also reportedly damaged in the attack.
It is believed that the vandalism was captured on CCTV. A case of arson has been laid with the police.
No one was injured in the attack which took place on the eve of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.
“They cannot shut us down, they can try whatever they want,” the Mosque’s founder, Taj Hargey, told AFP. “They have tried verbal intimidation, threats and now arson, this should be the last.”
“Our opponents should know that they don’t have a copyright on Islam.”
He also told SABC News: “If people don’t like what we do, they are entitled to stay away. But they have no right to try and intimidate us and bully [us]] by burning down our place.”
The mosque, which opened last month, has outraged conservative Muslims because it welcomes gay worshippers and allows men and women to worship together.
Located in a warehouse, the mosque was shut down just days after it opened for contravening municipal zoning laws.
It has since reportedly met all the requirements and is once again open.
Hargey previously said: “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.”
Despite the mosque being widely described as “gay-friendly”, its Executive Council recently distanced itself from the gay community and threatened to sue anyone who portrays the mosque “wrongly as gay or homosexual.”