The proposed opening of what has been described as South Africa’s first ‘Quran-centric, gender-equal, and non-sectarian’ mosque has already begun to divide public opinion in the local Muslim community. A strong majority have expressed opposition to the launch of ‘Open Mosque’, however some have hailed what they view as a positive step forward for the Muslims in the Cape.
Since reports of the mosque first came to light last week, VOC has received countless SMS’s and calls from listeners, eager to share their opinion on the matter at hand.
The stations SMS line in particular, has received dozens of messages condemning the mosque, specifically for its reported plans to forgo the Sunnah and Hadith in favor of a Quran only approach. Many have also expressed outrage at suggestions the mosque may be open to members of the homosexual community.
“The Quran and Sunnah are for all time, and there’s no such thing as modernizing it, or it being out-dated. Allah warned us of changing the Quran’s verses to suit us,” read one such SMS.
“How can we accept a mosque and leader that denies our Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W)” stated another.
Others were more open to the idea however. Although not in support of the concept of homosexuality, one SMSer questioned why the community was shunning such individuals, instead of embracing and welcoming them back into the fold of Islam.
“Allah is most merciful and most forgiving. If the open mosque allows the platform for the homosexual person to come in and be changed, and for the oppressed woman to have a voice, then Alghamdulilah, the onus is upon us as practicing Muslims to not show the gay person the door,” they said.
On VOC’s popular early morning show Breakfast Beat, many callers have also called to have their say. A regular caller Boeta Ismail from Bo-Kaap urged the community not to jump to conclusions before hand, urging them to wait after the mosques opening before passing judgment. He also questioned why there was such an issue to a mosque that was planning to stick solely to Quranic text.
“We have been in a quagmire of social problems, where we could never ask our sheikh or any imam anything. Maybe, just maybe there will be another way of how we can educate our children about the deen,” he said.
Not all as lenient though, caller Mohammed Benjamin accused the mosque’s founders of trying to corrupt the community, further suggesting that they were specifically targeting the Islamic youth.
Benjamin also took a swipe at the Western Cape leadership, in particular Premier Helen Zille, for giving their support for the opening of the controversial mosque.
“They side with them because when it comes to political issues, they can now go to that mosque and spread their political dawah,” he said.
The open mosque is set to be launched this coming Friday at 1pm, at 4 Lester Rd Wynberg. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)