A local advocacy group says it has no association with what has been labeled a “gay” mosque being established in Cape Town soon. The mosque is promoted as being gender equal and non sectarian. Rumours of the mosque have spread like wildfire on social media, with some people calling for it to be shut down.
Muhsin Hendricks, founder The Inner Circle, an organisation creating awareness about homophobia in Muslim communities, says they have been subjected to threats and intimidation after the rumours of their involvement began spreading. But Hendricks says TIC were only made aware of the mosque earlier this week after numerous chain messages on social media were spread purporting their insinuating their involvement.
But Hendricks says the description of the mosque by those opposing it is incorrect as it is only an ‘open’ mosque. VOC News has learnt that the mosque is being established by Taj Hargey, a controversial South African born academic based in the UK.
“I have been in direct contact with Dr Taj Hargey who is the person opening the mosque. [It] is an all inclusive mosque, meaning everyone, regardless of their sect, gender or sexual orientation is welcome to pray in this mosque. Women will also be sitting on the same level as men. But that is perhaps the only part of it that we are supportive of as we are pushing for inclusivity in mosques,” he said.
Hendricks said he and TIC are in no way involved with the establishment that, according to him, will only open later this month. He said TIC is opposed to the idea of a mosque designed specifically for the exclusive use of homosexual muslims.
“We have been painted as having a ‘gay’ mosque, but we are opposed to the concept of a separate mosque away from the mainstream,” he said.
He says Capetonian Muslims should not be too quick to react. Instead he urged them to do some fact finding first before believing the rumours being spread via digital means.
“I would advise [them] not to be reactionary and go on statements flying around in social media. Instead they should do some digging and get the facts first before they react.”
Already, there has been much condemnation from within the local Muslim community. Many Muslims opposed to the idea of an ‘open mosque’ have urged the ulema to speak out against it. On Friday, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) said it was still investigating the matter and would not issue a statement on hearsay.
MJC deputy president Sheikh Riad Fataar said the ulema body needs to know the facts before they can take any further action.
“As Muslims we are compelled to ascertain the facts and the truth before we speak. The MJC wants to tell the community we are fully aware of what is happening and we are in the process of investigatin,” he said.
Fataar acknowledged the public reaction to the issue and praised the Muslim community for their “vigilance”.
“We see and feel the anxiousness in our community. Alhamdullilah, our community is trying to protect the integrity and purity of our deen. But at the same time, we are not guided by emotions, but by the facts on the ground.”
Fataar hastened to add that the MJC would not consider the establishment a ‘mosque’.
“We see in the newspaper clipping and the messages that this is a place of worship, but we can’t call it a mosque.”
“We know this personality [Taj Hargey] has a history in South Africa and Cape Town.”
Fataar said that should it be found that this place of worship is being established, the MJC will not hesitate to condemn it.
“Anything that goes against our deen and that rejects the primary sources such the Quran and Hadeeth will be totally condemned by the MJC. We want to make sure that our deen is protected and that the Muslim community is not fooled. But again, we cannot make a complete statement until we have all the facts.”
It’s understood that Hargey is a progressive theologian and the chairman at Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford in the United Kingdom. VOC News attempted to contact the centre for comment, however calls went unanswered. VOC