Open Mosque to open its doors amid criticism

The mosque welcomes gay people and non-Muslims and will also allow women to lead prayers.

The Open Mosque in Cape Town. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Cape Town's first open mosque will open its doors today.

The mosque, which has received widespread criticism by some, welcomes all gay people and even non-Muslims and will also allow women to lead prayers.

Taj Hargey, the founder of the mosque, has been called blasphemous by some but hailed as a beacon of tolerance by others.

Despite the ongoing criticism from some Muslims, the mosque will go ahead with its first prayer service today.

In a statement released yesterday, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) strongly advised Muslims to refrain from attending the mosque.

Yet earlier this week, the MJC's Nabeweya Malick told Eyewitness News people shouldn't protest against the opening of the mosque.

"Being a religion of peace, Islam advocates amicable and peaceful solutions. The MJC has not called for any protest action against the establishment of the open mosque."

A message has been circulating on social media calling for protests against the opening of the place of worship.

On Tuesday, Hargey responded to his detractors by saying he's merely trying to dispel "the man-made lies" around Islam and promote gender equality.

Hargey says men and women should be able to worship together.

"Nowhere in the Quran does it say people should pray separately. Nowhere does it say men and women should be segregated."

He said the Muslim clergy had become theological mafia that dictated and monopolised everything in the Muslim community.

"This patriarchal, sexist discrimination is chauvinistic and it's becoming more prevalent."