The Open Mosque
This article is about Dr. Taj Hargey, a professor from the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford that has started his own progressive mosque in Cape Town, South Africa. According to the article this open mosque will allow people of all religions, genders and sexual orientation to use it as a place of worship, even permitting women to lead prayers themselves. Dr. Hargey was quoted saying it was time for a “religious revolution” and continued 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.”
Though apparently this idea has not been met with complete open arms or minds. The article mentions that a group tried to stop the opening of this mosque because it is heresy according to the Muslim community in the area. Dr. Hargey himself was called a “non-believer” over social media. According to the AFP news agency, in Dr. Hargey’s own sermon he condemned the increasing hatred in the world between Muslims and Christians, blaming it on “warped theology” and stated later that he is hoping to revive “the original mosque of the Prophet Muhammad, where there were no barriers.”
The reason I found this article interesting is because it related well with the subject of a persons background affecting their worldviews that we have been discussing in Religious Studies 200. A person’s past greatly affects the way they formulate opinions and thoughts. If everyone a person trusts tells them that something is a certain way, then their opinion on that subject will be jaded by the opinions and ideas of those very peers.
Growing up as a middle-class kid in Canada with one side of my family somewhat religious and the other not at all, I was brought up to find my own belief system and not concern myself with anyone else’s, even if they clashed with mine; while the critics of the mosque in the article were the exact opposite. A mosque they are not forced to attend or acknowledge is apparently incredibly offensive and should not even be available. I believe this has more to do with how they were raised, than it does with their actual religion. Dr. Hargey stating how he wanted to revive the Prophet Muhammad’s original mosque with no barriers implies that the religion never really had much to do with any hatred, but evolved this way over a long period of time. I hope this idea of the open mosque can motivate the Muslim people to follow in its footsteps and reverse the generations of close mindedness.