A Muslim academic has opened a gay-friendly mosque in South Africa, despite receiving death threats and fierce criticism from parts of the local Muslim community.Women will also be allowed to lead prayers at Taj Hargey's"Open Mosque" in Cape Town. Mr Hargey, a professor at the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford in the UK, told the BBC's Newsday programme it was time for a "religious revolution". "We are opening the mosque for open-minded people, not closed-minded people.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," he said He says the mosque will help counter growing Islamic radicalism. Mr Hargey, who was born in Cape Town, said the mosque would welcome people from all genders, religions and sexual orientations.
well as leading prayers, women would be allowed to pray in the same room as men, he said. He contrasted this to the current Islamic practice which sees "women at the back of the street, back of the hall, out of sight, out of mind". However, members of Cape Town's large Muslim community have taken to social media to criticise the new mosque, with some labelling him a "heretic" or "non-believer". One group tried to block the opening of the mosque.