‘Space to coexist’: Inside South Africa’s LGBT-friendly Mosque


Neatly laid out and facing Mecca, it is the colourful prayer mats arranged in a rainbow pattern that offer the first clue that the Masjid Ul-Umam mosque in Cape Town, South Africa, is not a typical place of worship. Nearby, Tahir, a softly spoken man in his late 20s, sits between a gay imam from Zambia, a straight sheikh from Liberia and opposite a lesbian student from Ghana. In the only African country to have legalised gay marriage, this modest-sized building is home to Africa’s first and most public LGBT-friendly mosque.


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