A local Muslim politician says instead of making threats towards its founder, detractors of the Open Mosque set to open this Friday in Wynberg should rather take part in public dialogue on its existence. Al Jamaah Party leader and City of Cape Town councilor Ganief Hendricks expressed this sentiment on Wednesday after, in his personal capacity, he instituted an investigation into the area the mosque is situated in. The Open Mosque is situated in Ward 62 in Wynberg, in an industrial area.
According to ward councillor Elizabeth Brunette, the location of the mosque has been zoned as ‘mixed use-2’. This means the site can be used for industrial use as well as for religious purposes.
“I have contacted the City [Department of Building Development Management] because if anyone wants to put up a mosque, a temple or church or any place of worship, they must make an application. The application is then reviewed by all of the City’s directorates who will approve whether it complies with things like parking, health and safety as well as fire safety requirements.”
He said an important phase in the application is the public participation in the passing and approval of the zoning. And Hendricks says those who are opposed to the idea of an open mosque on whatever grounds can appeal against its building in the application process.
“This is very apt in this case, because people have mixed feelings about the Open Mosque; so the City will have to take into account the commentary given by the public and other interested parties before granting that the premises be used as a place of worship,” Hendricks said.
Although he had placed in motion enquiries into the matter with the City, and at the time of publication VOC was unable to reach the City for comment, he cannot confirm whether the second application to use the space for religious purposes was approved.
He said however that those in the Muslim community opposed to the opening of the Open Mosque should participate in the public review of its application; or they should peacefully give their opinions on it to City of Cape Town officials.
“[Taking part] in the public participation process is the legal way to [object]. We have heard that some people want to march on the premises, or burn it down, and we felt that that is not the way to go about displaying disdain. The City has these processes in place and as a councilor I would much prefer people use that mechanism instead of making threats.” VOC (Andriques Che Petersen)