Protesters gather outside ‘open mosque’
The open mosque welcomes gay people, Muslims from different sects, as well as non-Muslims.
CAPE TOWN - Friday afternoon prayers have gone ahead at the new "open mosque" despite several attempts to shut its doors.
Several protesters from the Muslim faith have gathered outside the new mosque in Wynberg.
The mosque has received widespread criticism since news broke of its launch.
It welcomes gay people, Muslims from different sects, as well as non-Muslims. It will also allow women to lead the prayers.
A group of men from communities across Cape Town have gathered outside the mosque in Wynberg in protest.
They say they won't allow Muslim people to enter the building as the new mosque doesn't stand for the teachings of Islam and the Quran.
The angry group says Muslims have been practicing their faith this way for thousands of years and they won't allow the owner, Taj Hargey, to change the rules of Islam now.
The protesters say the mosque should be closed down.
Nashief Miller said the mosque does not stand for the teachings of Islam and the Quran.
"I'm upset about it and as a Muslim, we are not happy with this whole situation because in our Quran it is not permissible. The things that they want to allow are speaking against Islam. He is going against his religion in other words."
During a confrontation, Hargey told the group to leave the open mosque's premises and attend prayers elsewhere.
In a statement released on Thursday, 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."
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."
Pictures by Aletta Gardner and Lauren Isaacs