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‘Open mosque’ being investigated

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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

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  1. I smell a snake, strange that these 2 organizations will be situated in the same road.

    We as Muslims cannot allow these organizations to exist as representing Islam in any way. This would also coincide with Amina Wadud’s visit to Cape Town this week. Maybe she will lead the first Jumuah there. My question: Is Cape Town fast becoming the Sodom and Gomorah of Africa?

    1. The comments echo the inward thinking nature of our Muslims. There is absolutely no link between the gay mosque and the new Open Mosque. This has been verified, so lets move on from there. This is old news from closed-minded detractors of what this mosque is trying to advocate – as I understand from the website. I am also tired of listening to non-evidence-based fairy tales at Juma’a, week in and week out. The Quran clearly instructs us to investigate before making accusations (4:94).

      1. I agree with you …the community are brainwashed from a young age to believe they are superior to other persons on this planet. To also believe that to have an enquiring mind with respect to Islam is blasphemous. The clergy fear that you may expose their religious ignorance if asking questions innocuously. They then say you are questioning the Dean of Islam..

    2. i listened to the guy on Sunday, his point is plain and simple, if it is not in the Koran, they wont teach it. they will only teach what is in the Koran, no Hadith ( check my spelling), teach respect of human beings, respect of other faith and most important tolerance and openness. the Koran teach that man adnd woman were created as equal partners not woman inferior. the mosque will engage other religion for peaceful living in the western cape.

      1. If that is the case then he cannot refer to his organisation as Islamic, or Mosque. Islam is based upon Quran AND Sunnah. If either one is excluded then its not Islam. He should be forced to not refer to his organisation as a Mosque

  2. I like how we as Muslims in South Africa are so quick to condemn and lambast something we do not know or fully understand. Reminds me alot of our Arab peoples in the Middle East who are notorius for being known as a hot-headed bunch.

    I suppose once this “mosque” is established, Muslims from Cape Town will be demonstrating outside and harassing the people who go to that mosque for worship.

    Thing is, a functioning democracy is one that provides freedom of religion as well as an interpretation of said religion.

    We as Muslims need to become accustomed to living in a democratic country. If we don’t lIke it, then we can consider setting up our own caliphate here in SA or leave the country. I don’t see the Arab countries willing to take us in.

  3. Assalamu alaykum

    It appears that an international group called CALEM (Confederation of Associations LGBQTIA Euro-African or Muslim) is responsible for the Open Mosque. LGBQTIA stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transsexual, intersexual and asexual. According to the CALEM website they use the human rights approach with theological evidences to address the challenges they face.

    The following is sourced from CALEM’s website:

    Since late 2013 our dynamic, after being founded on the initiative of the European citizen network called HM2F, is now coordinated from South Africa by the officially registered international organization named CALEM. Indeed, after our main colloquium in Paris in 2012, our interconnected sister organizations within the CALEM confederation pushed forward the fact that welcoming and training vulnerable women & LGBT individuals from a Muslim background, especially those fleeing homophobia, transphobia and patriarchy in their country, is becoming for all of us a heavy burden we do not have the financial nor the logistical means to deal with. Two years later our confederation CALEM is about to fulfill a long term project, through a self-sustainable dynamic (

    more to follow…

  4. Assalamu alaykum

    The HM2F was started by Ludovic Mohamed Zahed. Zahed who is an Algerian Muslim, but grew up in France ( Zahed started the first Open Mosque in France in 2012 ( Zahed is married to a South African, Qiyam al-Din Jantjies ( according to CALEM their constitution was adopted by the general assembly in January, 2014. The CALEM constitution states the following:

    1. That they resolve “to create an NGO able to coordinate the CALEM” confederation and enhance from South Africa the level of our expertise to help the most vulnerable amongst us”.

    2. Objective (b) states: “[To] Open the first international, inclusive, self-sustainable Muslims’ center (an inclusive mosque, a refugees’ shelter & a progressive imam-es training institute) in South Africa.”

  5. Assalamu alaykum

    The CALEM constitution can be downloaded from the website ( Simply click: (CALEM is now coordonated by our South African organization; consult its constitution here) towards the bottom of the page. CALEM’s project is called CALEM Rumi’s Isiphephelo. See Zahed’s explanation on See also (

  6. Assalamu alaykum

    Furthermore, Zahed is the founder and leader of INIMuslims (International Network for Inclusive Muslims), according to the CALEM website, which includes Prof. Amina Wadud (USA), Imam Hashim Jansen (Netherlands) and imam Jose Yusuf De Silva (Brazil). See this link for the extensive list (

    Unfortunately, I am unable to post my comment in full since. I get this message every time ” Hmmm, your comment seems a bit spammy. We’re not real big on spam around here.”


  7. The founder Taj Hargey is known to be Quranist, to reject hadith and to be behind efforts to try to do away with shariah in favour of a modernist form of “islam” based on his own rational and secular friendly interpretations. There are already roots to this thinking planted in our community and now they’re trying to establish a visible public rallying point to further deviate people.

    The ummah is under attack from all directions from within and outside and people’s world views are purposely being engineered away from the pure understanding of Quran and Sunnah which the Prophet(saw) and his companions were upon, which is the only thing which will keep us from going astray as we know from the well known hadith.

  8. Isn’t this a rather strong contradiction?

    (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”)

    One cannot state a dogma and then applaud individuals for doing the exact opposite.

  9. Assalamu alaykum

    We have been here in the past. On 12 August, 1994, Prof. Amina Wadud delivered her pre-khutbah talk at the Claremont Main Rd. Mosque which resulted, as is the case now, in a huge outcry from the Muslim community. The Claremont Main Rd. Mosque, nonetheless, proceeded with its plan of having both males and females praying downstairs, the only division being the thin barrier which divides the sexes. What is the relationship between the Muslim community and the Claremont Mosque today? The former premier of the Western Cape, Ebrahim Rasool, just like mr. Hargey now, said regarding the incident: “Islam is busy with a healing process”. The ulema responded with the following: “Since when has Islam been sick?” What has happened since then? Have we forgotten our recent history and are our memories that short?

    The person behind the Open Mosque, in my view, is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the Open Mosque is here in our midst. But so too is the Ahmadi mosque in Athlone, but no one seems to care about it, because Muslims have fitrah (natural disposition) and know what is good or bad for them instinctively. It is the same as playing with matches. The vast majority of children are cautious, some are careless, while others are psychopathic arsonists. We and our children alhamdu lillah, are the first group. Our children who are unaware of the fierce legal battles between the Muslims and Ahmadis do not care about this insignificant group. Whether the Open Mosque is the project of Taj Hargey or Ludovic Mohamed Zahed or both or anyone else does not really matter.

    My point of departure is based on the Companion, Hudhayfah b. al-Yamaan (ra), who used to ask the Prophet (s) about the bad and evil whereas the other Companions used to ask him about the good. Hudhayfah (ra) figured that if everyone knew what was good for them, but did not know what to avoid they could easily find themselves in harms way. So, if everyone is looking at Taj Hargey, I will not pursue the same path, but I will look somewhere else. If anyone wants to disagree with me, by all means do so. I will merely contribute whatever information I have and leave it at that. No debates, nothing. This also means that while everyone is preoccupied with the Open Mosque, I will look elsewhere at what could possibly be harmful to the Muslim community. While everyone is hyped about the Open Mosque, the City of Cape Town is busy with drone testing over the next two months. Yes and the Muslims are not even aware of that! (

    Our choices are really simple. We can continue to entertain attention-seekers who do things merely to provoke the Muslim community, or let obscurity deal with them and focus on things which could harm the Muslim community in the future. Our future generations will not necessarily come into contact with the Open Mosque, but I am sure that the deployment of drones in Cape Town will affect each and every one of us and them.


    1. Absolutely spot on… If only people would see the sleight of hand techniques being employed against “HUMANITY” and not just the 1.2 billion Muslims. If you’re human there’s a target on your back. Wake up and smell the fire!

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