Islam is one of those religions that is highly disapproving of homosexuality, forcing members of the LGBT community deep into the closet in order to avoid persecution or even death in some countries. So I was interested to read about the opening of a pro-gay mosque in Cape Town, South Africa that also treated men and women equally and where women will be allowed to lead prayers.
Taj Hargey, a professor at the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford in the UK and who is originally from South Africa, explained his reasons for opening the mosque, saying that “In South Africa 20 years ago, there was a peaceful revolution changing from apartheid to democracy and we need to have a similar development in the area of religion.”
Of course, traditional Muslims are not happy and he has been called a heretic and “South Africa’s umbrella body for Islamic groups, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), says it is investigating the new mosque and has noted concerns raised in the community.”
Hargey is pretty scathing about his critics.
In his sermon Mr Hargey condemned the increasing hatred in the world between Muslims and Christians and blamed it on “warped theology”, reports AFP news agency.
When asked about his qualifications as a religious leader he said: “I have a PhD in Islamic studies from Oxford University, unlike my opponents who went to some donkey college in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.”
He told the BBC that he wanted to revive “the original mosque of the Prophet Muhammad, where there were no barriers”.
“This idea of female invisibility is an innovation that came after Muhammad, unfortunately it has become entrenched,” he said.
Although he is originally from South Africa, he now lives and works in England so I am not sure why he did not start his mosque there.