CAIRO: In an attempt by the state to prevent the exploitation of worship houses for political purposes, the Ministry of Religious Endowment decided Tuesday to put all the mosques in Egypt under its supervision for a period not exceeding one month starting March 11.
The ministry further prohibited collecting any donations in mosques outside the framework of the law, according to a decision issued by the Endowment Minister Mokhtar Gomaa.
Gomaa assigned the central administration for mosque affairs to establish means and strategies to implement the supervision and he ordered the ministry’s representatives in Cairo and other governorates to follow up the implementation of this decision in the specified period.
National Salvation Front spokesperson Wahid Abdul Mageed told Youm7 that the minister’s decision alone would not be able to reduce the extreme religious discourse, calling the ministry to open a serious dialogue among the preachers in order to set policies to maintain the balance in the religious discourse.
The ministry will not be able to force preachers to abide by a unified religious speech only through opening dialogue with them, he said.
Member of the Nour Party’s presidential office Shaaban Abdel-Alim criticized the move saying that the ministry does not have enough qualified preachers to fill positions in mosques in order to implement the supervision.
Abdel-Alim told The Cairo Post that it would have been better to train preachers first, before taking such decision, as the preachers affiliated to the ministry would not be able to deliver sermons in mosques well.
“They are not well-qualified to perform this task,” he said.
The decision to impose supervision on the mosques came in the framework of the ministry’s plan to oversee mosques in order to maintain their sanctity away from any partisan or political orientations, as Muslim Brotherhood members had occupied senior positions in the Ministry of Religious Endowments during the regime of former President Mohamed Morsi to control the religious discourse in mosques.