CAPE TOWN, Africa. – Newly established Open Mosque has violated municipal by-laws by not having any parking spaces, according to a City of Cape Town councilor, BBC reports.
On Friday, the mosque officially opened its doors despite criticism from members of local Muslims.
Founder Taj Hargey said the mosque would help counter radicalism.
“The City Council is trying to close the mosque using ridiculous bylaws and I will not be threatened by them or anyone else,” Hargey told the BBC.
“We have freedom of religion and expression in this country. No-one has the right to tell anyone what to believe in. This is a gender equal mosque, autonomous and independent and will remain so,” he said.
City councilor Ganief Hendricks said Hargey had not applied to change the use of the building from a warehouse to a mosque, posing health and safety issues.
Hendricks also said there were not any parking bays, which violates a local by-law stipulates that a place of worship should have one parking bay per 10 worshipers on the premises.
Hargey believed everything was in order.
“It is pure intimidation. Why are they so scared? Because they know if this mosque succeeds their theological monopoly is over,” he said. “This is not a gay mosque. But I will not turn anyone away based on race or sexual orientation.”