Legal entity The Society for the Protection of Our Constitution plans on investigating the intentions of Dr Taj Hargey, a self-styled imam who recently launched a so-called Open Mosque in Wynberg amid great controversy. The Society’s Advocate Zehir Omar says it is investigating Hargey’s intentions, as it recognizes the style in which he and his congregants, on Friday, conducted Jumuah prayers, as distinctly ‘Muslim’.
“The detractors of Hargey and his place of worship say he is an impostor and that he is not a Muslim, and that the sole purpose of his place of worship is to cause incitement. Now the Society this weekend steeped in research to assist Hargey to clarify whether his place of worship is a religious institution and thus would be protected in terms of the constitution. We observed the method and procedure followed in Hargey’s place of worship as resembling the procedure followed by the people identified as Muslim,” Omar said on Monday.
Because Hargey cites the Qur’an as being the source of his methodology, the Society will in court, urge him to refer to any passage that elaborates on the controversial means in which he has approached the establishment of his “Mosque”.
“[We] want Hargey to [please] reveal a verse in the Qur’an that he follows that describes the procedure of worship conducted in his place of prayer. If there is a verse that prescribes him to follow his method, then the society will continue and declare his religion one worthy of protection under the constitution.”
He says currently Hargey’s application to have his site’s zoning changed to one of religious use depends on whether Hargey can prove that what he teaches falls within the fold of Islam. If not, the site must remain zoned for industrial use and cannot be labeled a place of worship.
“Before the application can be approved by the City of Cape Town it will have to go through a process in which the public will have the opportunity to object to its existence. And one of the objections [will] be that the sole purpose of this religious institute is to incite [a reaction] from the Muslim community. If Hargey can reveal [the] verse, then the society will support him all the way.” VOC (Andriques Che Petersen)