MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) – The first gay-friendly mosque in South Africa has been closed down indefinitely after only three days in service, the BBC reports.
According to a Cape Town official, the mosque violated municipal by-laws by failing to have parking spaces.
Despite criticism from members of the local Muslim community, the mosque, which intended to include all Muslims regardless of their gender, sexual orientation and sect, was opened on September 19, the Washington Post said.
“We are opening the mosque for open-minded people, not closed-minded people”, said Taj Hargey, South African-born director of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford and founder of the mosque, as quoted by BBC.
Some Muslim leaders condemned Hargley as a “heretic”, while protesters yelled “You will go to hell” during the last week’s opening of the mosque. Yet, Hargley believes he is well qualified to represent his version of Islam. “I have a PhD in Islamic Studies from Oxford University, unlike my opponents who went to some donkey college in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia”, Hargley told reporters, as quoted by AFP.
There are estimated 800, 000 worshippers of Islam living in South Africa.