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Open Mosque: “This is wrong, it must be stopped.”

The controversial Open Mosque launched in Cape Town on Friday amid protests and calls for the mosque to be boycotted. Members of the media and critics outnumbered the congregation on Friday and founder Taj Hargey’s sermon was interrupted by attendees who called him a “fraud” and told him he would “go to jahannam (hell)”. RA’EESA PATHER asked people at the mosque what they thought of it.

Ederis SmithEderis Smith, 22, mechanical worker, Mitchell’s Plain
In other mosque, they welcome Christian and Jews, but they cannot pray in the mosque. So how can you allow a Christian or a Jew to pray in a mosque? The mosque is place for Muslims to pray only.  At the end of the day, we don’t tell people not to come to the mosque. Anyone can walk into a mosque all over the world, but you can’t pray there in the mosque. Secondly, how can he have an open mosque that accommodates people who are lesbian or gay?

Elspeth MuirheadElspeth Muirhead, 59, pensioner, Muizenberg
I’m coming to support an establishment of a liberal mosque, because I’m a Unitarian and we draw wisdom from the world’s religions. I think the inter-dialogue between Christians and Muslims is essential to today’s world. This mosque is standing for a contemporary interpretation of Islam. I’ve heard and I’ve been impressed by what’s been expressed about the greater involvement of women in this community and the equality.

Gawa SafedienGawa Safedien, 62, pensioner, Wynberg
I came here because it’s a mosque and I want to see the new mosque. The controversy is silly, I’m not against what they’re doing but still. We come to pray here, people just want to make their salaah (prayers). That’s what’s fard (obligatory in Islam).  I also think gay people cannot help how they are born, and they just want to have a mosque. I think people have acted unfairly to it.

Bilalal GhoriebBilalal Ghorieb, 28,  sheikh (religious leader), Mitchell’s Plain
This is wrong, it must be stopped. If you have a right to do a thing, don’t wipe it in religion. As Muslims these things hurt, we must stand for our religion. In Islam, in Christianity, in Judaism, homosexuality is not permissible. Hargey is saying he’s against homosexuality, he’s saying things, and then he’s saying the opposite. They want to start a new thing, but Islam started 1,400 years ago. The world has been united, but it never needed a mosque like this to unite the people.

Diane KomieDiane Komie, 50, security worker, Langa
I’m here today, because I read the newspaper about this. It’s an open church for everyone, so I just wanted to come in and see what’s going on; I want to know if it’s only for certain people or what. I don’t want to sit outside and listen to the protestors outside without knowing what is going on inside. It is a mosque, and I’m okay here because I pray, and it doesn’t matter where you pray.

Nasief MillerNasief Miller, 36, pool technician, Mitchell’s Plain
I came to protest against what’s happening here and just to see what’s going on inside. What happened inside is not permissible in Islam, it’s just not right. He [Hargey in his sermon] mixed Islam with the Christian religion. He quoted out of the Bible and out of the Qur’an. The New Testament has nothing to do with Islam. There’s no changes to the Qur’an, it has always stayed the same, you cannot make changes to it. It’s actually sad.

15 Comments
  1. wadani says

    I do not mind to see a place fro all people but it must have its new name,not mosque,not church but other name of its own,let them call it homosexual home of religion

  2. abrahams says

    It is silly that the Daily Vox and other media outlets are giving so much of coverage to this “mosque”. Maybe it would also be prudent to report that the “mosque” had a mere 18 congregants on Friday and that there were more reporters (media) present.

    1. AssociateEd
      AssociateEd says

      we take your point. our purpose of reporting the mosque is to put the story into perspective, which others are not doing. thanks for the feedback.

      1. guest says

        I find it rather ridiculous that Mr Hargey, who has openly campaigned against the ‘burqah’ in the UK; against the “Mega-Mosque” in London; etc. can be given so much air-time by our media outlets. For a person that is asking for equality and respect his actions and motives as spelt out by the same media over the years show nothing but his complete and total hatred for the vast majority of Islamic practices, beliefs and system.

        I would assume that this publication would also strive to show THAT perspective of Mr Hargey – a fraudster and constant thorn against Islam and Muslims who now demands that Muslims must allow him to operate his clandestine “mosque”.

        1. Harry Underwood says

          What makes him a “fraudster”? That’s quite a low charge to make when you have nothing to back it up.

          1. Rehana says

            Hargey was exposed as a fraudster in a 1990 article by Ken Martin in the Austin Business Journal (available online).

            Ask yourself whether you would go to a con-man for your spiritual guidance!

          2. Rehana says

            Anyone who wants to read the article I referred to, simply needs to search for: the Austin bulldog Hargey vows to publish or perish

        2. Anon says

          Is reformation hatred?

        3. AssociateEd
          AssociateEd says

          before you assume, check the site.

  3. The Daily Vox Team
    The Daily Vox Team says

    Hi abrahams, the intro does state that “members of the media and critics outnumbered the congregation on Friday”.

  4. Gue says

    Saddened to see my brethern muslims acting like Gods and condemning people to hell. grow up! your likes are the reason we have been fighting religious wars for the past couple of centuries.
    does it say in the Quran you cant have a christian praying next to you. NO! did the christians open their churches to muslims in Gaza and Egypt, YES!
    Co-existence is key, open your mind, accept that there are different types of people, religions and belief systems.
    we seem to concentrate on holy books delivering messages rather than getting the actual message. be kind, be good, and pray.
    Mr Hargey people like you are the reason humanity advanced.
    Muslims wake the f$%@ up. we use to be the most advanced race(for lack of a better word).

    1. Rehana says

      Muslims base their beliefs and practices on the Qur’an and Sunnah (explicit and implicit teachings) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

      In the Qur’an, Chapter 109, the Prophet (pbuh) was instructed to make the distinction between Islam and other belief systems clear:

      Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which you worship;
      Nor do you worship that which I worship.
      And I will never worship that which you worship;
      Nor will you ever worship that which I worship.
      Unto you is your religion, and unto me is my religion.

      While the Prophet (pbuh) interacted with non-Muslims in a manner that was respectful of their beliefs, he never prayed alongside them.

      The practices of people in other countries, including Gaza, Egypt or even Mecca, do not constitute proof in Islam, irrespective of the laudable motives behind them. Therefore, Muslims are not obliged to follow them.

      Co-existence means that people live together in mutual respect, not that one group becomes assimilated with another, as many Western governments want Muslim minorities to do.

      Having lived, studied and worked in mixed environments where I interacted with people from diverse backgrounds, I was guided by Islam to treat others with respect and courtesy, and received the same in return. I did not (and still don’t) need to compromise my principles in order to make myself ‘acceptable’ to anyone.

      I fail to see how people like Hargey can be ‘the reason humanity advanced’ when his utterances have demonstrated intolerance and arrogance towards others who disagree with him. A true academic knows how to conduct himself in a debate. Incidentally, I’ve encountered gangsters who speak with greater courtesy and respect than he does!

      Muslims need not only TO STUDY Islam but TO PRACTISE it amongst themselves and others. That was the primary mission of the Prophet (pbuh).

    2. guest says

      If that is so then why don’t you advice Mr. Hargey to stop acting like GOD when he tries to ban the burqah, or opposes the building of Mosques, etc…

      1. Rehana says

        If Mr Hargey had been prepared to accept anyone’s advice, we would probably not be having this conversation in the first place!

        In the interviews I have heard, his interviewers have had a hard time getting direct answers to their questions as Hargey simply bulldozed over them with his anti-Muslim ranting. He was clearly not interested in listening to anyone!

        The fact is that Hargey is supported in the activities you mentioned because it suits the Islamophobic agenda of his supporters. If they had been more objective, they would have refrained from associating with a known fraudster.

        The most any Muslim can do is inform, educate or raise awareness about issues affecting the community. Since Islam teaches that individuals are accountable for their own actions, it is up to individual Muslims to make a responsible choice regarding their worldly and spiritual affairs.

  5. Fikir says

    Islamic is a barbaric religion – the worst of a bunch of awful stone age superstitions the world would be better off without. Wherever there is Islam, there is war, intolerance and misogyny.

    Anyone serious about equality is better off leaving the savagery of the Quran and its murderous warlord founder back in the Dark Ages where it belongs.

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