The Open Mosque

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.


#200 #uwreligions


2 thoughts on “The Open Mosque

  1. I really appreciate the tension between tradition and progressive ideals expressed in this article, and it raises very relevant questions about religion in the face of changing worldviews, especially in a society becoming increasingly “intolerant of intolerance”. One of these major questions is, “Is it more important to maintain religious tradition, or to adapt to worshipers’ changing worldviews?” Surely there is a case for both sides, as you have addressed.
    Personally, I think the open mosque is an example of how all religions should be practiced—without discrimination or segregation. Surely, it is important to maintain religious traditions, especially those key to the belief system, in order to maintain the religion. However, in the future I think that religious institutions may be forced to abandon some traditional thought patterns, especially those of a discriminatory nature, in order to appease increasingly open-minded worshippers.
    Thank you for shedding light on such an interesting new concept!

  2. I completely agree with the concept Dr. Hargey puts forth of the Open Mosque. I sincerely believe that the original premise of Islam was of harmony and peace, and that acceptance should be one of their main principles. In my opinion, the Islamic people should engage in a revitalization movement. A revitalization movement is defined as a “deliberate, organized, conscious effort by members of a society to construct a more satisfying culture”. It is my thought that by initiating a revitalization movement, the Islamic religion will no longer be feared or stigmatized, but rather accepted and idealized as a peaceful and harmonious way of life. I really like that you incorporated your own life experience in your blog post, and agree with your thoughts on the Open Mosque.

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