LGBT friendly ‘open mosque’ in South Africa

Sean Weaver

Sean Weaver is a blogger, writer, and reader. He is a graduate student at Kutztown University, Pa studying English. Bodies and sexualities are his expertise.He spends his time being somewhat neurotic about the clothes he wears, the books he reads, the endless papers he writes, and his next hair cut. Queer is his middle name.

According to the Cape Times, an ‘open mosque’ will welcome visitors in Capetown, South Africa on Friday. Taj Hargey, a ‘Capetown-born Oxford’, has been instrumental in opening the mosque and has held firm in his decision to do so despite threatening messages – some calling it a ‘gay temple’ and some calling Hargey a ‘heretic’ and ‘unbeliever’. In light of these threats, Hargey has stated that he will take legal action against those who spread libel against him.

Hargey says that this ‘open mosque’ is the first of its kind, stating that, ‘It is time for a “religious revolution” in the Western Cape.’

Hargey’s open mosque ‘will be South Africa’s first gender-equal, non-sectarian and interracial mosque. It will be non-aligned and would welcome Sunni and Shia Muslims at the same service.’

According to the times, ‘Hargey said confusion about it being a ‘gay mosque’ arose because the mosque was situated in Sussex Street – the same road as the Inner Circle, an organisation that promotes a Muslim community free from discrimination based on religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.

‘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.’

While welcoming LGBT+, Hargey also plans to have women involved in services and in making decisions concerning the mosque and its worshippers.

‘The mosque would follow the Qur’an and promote gender equality – this meant women would enter and take part in prayers and in the running of the mosque.’

Although Hargey has not directly challenged The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), his views differ in that he ‘preach[es] an Islam that is enlightened, erudite and egalitarian.’

Hargey’s Mosque is set to open for daily prayers on Friday and Vada wishes him the best of luck for his commitment to equality, religious acceptance and faith.

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