Muslim scholar talks on progressive Islam

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Muslim scholar talks on progressive Islam

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The South African Centre for Religious Equality and Diversity (SACRED) recently hosted Professor Taj Hargey (pictured at left), a distinguished Oxford-based academic on Islam and the Middle East, at Bet David in Johannesburg, with a lecture on “Progressive Islam: Tolerant or Intolerant?”

by OWN CORRESPONDENT | Jul 07, 2015

Prof Hargey, who hails from South Africa, is also the director of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford, which promotes a progressive, pluralistic Qur’anic Islam and runs a newly-formed think-tank called the Oxford Centre for British Islam.

clip_image004Prof Hargey spoke about perceptions of Islam in the modern world and with his push for a more egalitarian, pluralistic way of practising Islam, talked about resisting the covert imposition of the patriarchal shariah or Muslim religious law into modern society.


RIGHT: SACRED chair Rabbi Julia Margolis with Professor Taj Hargey


He has publicly opposed Wahhabi-Salafi theological propaganda, and has courageously led a national campaign to ban all forms of facial masking, including the non-Qur’anic burka and hijab in the United Kingdom.

Prof Hargey also spoke about The Open Mosque, launched in Cape Town last September where he was invited to deliver a sermon. The mosque calls itself Qur’an-centric; gender-equal; non-sectarian; inter-cultural; and independent. It was subject to attacks from local Muslim clergy, as well as several arson attacks, but has gained widespread publicity and international praise, he says.

He serves as the imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation, the most progressive body of Muslims in the UK. It made European history a decade ago by welcoming women to conduct sermons and leading the weekly Friday prayers in mixed-gender assembly.

This was Sacred’s second evening of interest” this year and gave its audience a much needed, different take on Islam.

“We had guests from other synagogues, as well as the broader Jewish community,” said Rabbi Julia Margolis. “Muslim and Christian friends joined us too.”

Next month Sacred will host a discussion on why different faiths and religions pray over food and beverages, specifically investigating the subject of water and prayer.