'Open mosque' under threat

A city councillor says the newly-established mosque hasn't complied with zoning requirements.

The open mosque welcomes gay people, Muslims from different sects, as well as non-Muslims. It has also invited women to lead prayers. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - South Africa's first 'open mosque' is closed today, but it's unclear for how long.

The mosque officially opened its doors on Friday amid protests from the local Muslim community.

It welcomes gay people, Muslims from different sects, as well as non-Muslims. It has also invited women to lead prayers.

A City of Cape Town councillor says the newly-established " open mosque" in Wynberg hasn't complied with zoning requirements.

City councillor Ganief Hendricks, who is also the leader of the Al Jama-ah Party, claims the mosque's founder, Taj Hargey hasn't applied to change the use of the building from a warehouse to a mosque.

An Eyewitness News reporter on the scene has confirmed the mosque is closed this afternoon.

This despite claims by the mosque's controversial founder the facility is "still open and operational".

A local community member says the mosque goes against the teachings of Islam.

"I'm glad it's closed, hopefully for the right reasons. I doubt that anyone will support this mosque in any way."

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

However, at the same time, the MJC's Nabeweya Malick told Eyewitness News people shouldn't protest against the opening of the mosque.

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

He said men and women should be able to worship together.

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