THE OPEN MOSQUE
Progressive, Open-minded & Forward-looking Muslims
1. GENERAL BACKGROUND OF ISLAM IN SOUTH AFRICA
Islam in South Africa, including the Western Cape, is based mainly upon mindless rituals, superstitious legends, cultural mythology and a blatant sexist contamination of the pristine faith. These and other perverse falsehoods do not stem from Islam’s supreme text but from suspect subsidiary sources. With little or no recourse to the transcendent text itself, many Muslims subscribe to a concocted creed that is unrelated to the Holy Qur’an. Now, these warped, virulent misconceptions have gained greater ascendancy with the rising proliferation of crude Wahhabi/Salafi/Shi’ah/Tablighi and other sectarian distortions of the sacred scripture. This toxic theological propaganda deforms original Islam and is the prime reason for growing Muslim alienation to and disaffection with contemporary religion. It is this blind belief and robotic ritualism – rather than reason and logic as required by God’s Book – that are the hallmarks of Islam in South Africa.
2. THE DEPLORABLE PRESENT SITUATION
Most mosques in the Cape Peninsula are either MJC-aligned or influenced. This self-appointed, un-accountable and non-transparent body of often poorly trained clergy dictates and controls the lives of the Muslim masses. In this noxious environment, there is no recognized haven for progressive or thinking Muslims fed-up with a ‘fairy-tale’ faith or non-Qur’anic dogmas to have any enriching solidarity with each other. Sadly, this influential segment of Muslim society has no spiritual home where they can congregate freely to enhance their Qur’an-derived spirituality, leading inevitably to either their estrangement or withdrawal from Islam and the community. This project seeks to redress their invidious plight.
3. CONSTRUCTING A PRACTICAL ALTERNATIVE INSTITUTION
In this context, it is imperative for liberal and unprejudiced Muslims to create a viable religious focal point where their Qur’anic manifestation of Islam will not only be welcomed but also serve to attract numerous other like-minded believers. The first task for this independent mosque is to obtain a suitable property in a central location, which will become the hub for all inquiring Muslims. While the long-term goal is to build a dedicated state-of-the-art mosque that fuses the East with the West, the immediate priority is to acquire premises that can be modified into a multi-faceted Islamic centre to function as a bona fide mosque and also double as an educational and community resource. This pioneering institution will restore Qur’anic primacy by resisting bland ritualism and promoting a rational religion that is rooted in and relevant to 21st century South Africa. The official mantra of this new mosque is to restore the twin R’s of Islam: reason and revelation. The Open Mosque will conduct daily as well as weekly prayers, and become a vibrant magnet for interfaith dialogue and other social programmes such as adult/computer literacy, youth club, crèche, kids’ school, etc.
4. AN INCLUSIVE MOSQUE FOR ALL SELF-DEFINING MUSLIMS – EVERYONE WELCOME
This new institute, unlike other mosques, will advance Qur’anic Islam, not fabricated non-scriptural fables and a chauvinist patriarchy that characterises ‘popular’ Islam today. It will openly champion an erudite, enlightened and egalitarian Islam in line with authentic Qur’anic precepts. In contrast with existing mosques, women will have equal presence, and also full parity in its governance. There will be no separate female entrances or women’s screens in the prayer hall. Most significantly, this new mosque will be autonomous, non-sectarian, gender-equal, inter-racial and unaffiliated to any specific school of thought (madhab), ideology or denomination. Qualified secular experts as well as religious specialists will act as Rotational Imams to ensure that the congregation benefits from deliberate cross-pollination. In this way, the Open Mosque will foster genuine theological self-empowerment for Muslims to get closer to the Creator and humanity.
5. NO DOCTRINAL INTOLERANCE, TAKFIR, OR INTRA-MUSLIM VILLIFICATION
For believers who place the Qur’an at the epicentre of their spiritual lives, it is axiomatic that no one is permitted to declare fellow Muslims to be outside the fold of Islam, irrespective of their beliefs or background. Contrary to what the ‘clergy’ might claim, that is God’s exclusive domain and no one, let alone any institution or individual, can usurp this sole divine prerogative. This ‘takfir’ is the deadly cancer at the heart of Islam today that must be resisted by thinking Muslims.
6. THE OPEN MOSQUE’S CONSTITUTION AND GOVERNING STRUCTURES
A carefully crafted constitution with stringent built-in safeguards and registration as an official NPO ensures that the Open Mosque operates in conformity with both the Holy Qur’an and South African law. Competent personnel and talented staff fill all governance and managerial posts. The Executive Board and other leadership positions are not confined to men alone. Firm legal steps have be implemented so that the Open Mosque cannot in the future betray its key founding principles of pluralism, equality, tolerance, justice and liberty.
7. THE RECRUITMENT OF FREE-SPIRITED & INDEPENDENT MUSLIMS
A coordinated campaign disseminating its news and information via radio, TV, press and social media (Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc) will facilitate in generate a diverse support-base across racial, ethnic and class lines to attend the Open Mosque. Strategic adverts in the press and also the Internet will invite membership from open-minded Muslims to this landmark project. This will help to fund the critical initial phases, thereby securing its financial stability and ultimate success.
8. COMMITTED GROUND FLOOR SUPPORTERS OF THE OPEN MOSQUE
Many devout Muslims from all walks of life share this fervent determination to restore pristine Islam and the Qur’anic foundations of the faith. They have pledged their moral as well as material support for this important trailblazing initiative. Do you wish to join other professionals, entrepreneurs, workers, retirees, students, etc in this noble worthwhile cause? Together, we can give our talent, time and treasure to establish a logical Qur’an-based Islam for the next generation!