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  • The new Mosque will preach an "enlightened, erudite and egalitarian" Islam, said the imam. (Photo: Reuters)

    The new Mosque will preach an "enlightened, erudite and egalitarian" Islam, said the imam. (Photo: Reuters) | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 September 2014

“Women will no longer make samosas - they will make the decisions,” said the imam of the new Open Mosque.

The Open Mosque will be inaugurated on Friday in Cape Town, confirmed on Monday imam Taj Hargey, an Oxford University professor and promoter mosques that welcome homosexuals, women and even non-Muslims.

“I do not endorse homosexual living, but I do not condemn them as people. We will, however, welcome gay people and discuss topical subjects like sexuality, politics and others,” said the imam, who warned he will sue anyone calling him an "heretic" or a "homosexual."

Women will not be discriminated against, and will be entitled to lead prayers or make decisions just like their male counterparts, said Hargey.

Women with burkas or any other veil covering their face will not be permitted inside, he warned. This year, Hargey launched a campaign in the UK supporting the prohibition of the burka in public spaces, because in his opinion, it is a type of isolation "comparable to the political system of apartheid endured in South Africa."

According to Hargey, the dominant Muslim doctrine is betraying the universal nature of Islam, and some of its traditions are "obsolete" and "violate human rights." 

He disagrees with Sharia, or Islamic law, as “a concoction of medieval interpretations,” written from a "strictly masculine" point of view. Among other rules, he criticized stone-throwing for adultery for being a measure implemented hundreds of years after Muhammad´s death.

Accordingly, his new mosque will condemn any "barbarian act" committed in the name of Islam, including the decapitations of the Islamic State group, he added.

His intention is not to convert anyone to Islam, he assured, and the imam, married with a Christian woman, condemned the disputes occurring between various tendencies inside his religion.

In reaction to this initiative, the imam received a wave of criticisms in social media and from the Muslim community of the country. 

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), for instance, stated that the establishment cannot be called a mosque because it does not practice full Islam, which includes both the Qur'aan and the teachings of Prophet Muhammed.

“I guess the Muslim clergy is not pleased with an independent new mosque that will challenge their authority. I preach an Islam that is enlightened, erudite and egalitarian,”  Hargey said.

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