CAIRO: Salafi preacher Mohamed al-Zoghbi was denied delivering the Friday’s sermon two days ago in a mosque in Damietta without a license from the Ministry of Religious Endowment, according to a Saturday ministry statement.
The statement claimed that the decision “found favor” with the public inside the mosque, who “rejected the policy of fait accompli” that the Salafi Group “wants to impose” on Damietta’s mosques.
“[The ministry] supports all its representatives to strongly and firmly address attempts to infringe on mosques by non-professionals and advocates of fundamentalism who led our society to where we are now,” the statement said.
Zoghbi was a permanent guest on ultra-orthodox TV channels, before the authorities closed them in July 2013 after the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi.
There are still dozens of videos of him available on Youtube criticizing the Shiite and Christian faiths. He still appears on Al-Rahma channel, an Islamist channel that was allowed to resume broadcasting.
On May 29, the Cabinet adopted a decree limiting religious preaching at mosques to Al-Azhar scholars authorized by the Endowment Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa.
The ministry called on authorities to provide “more cooperation to eliminate the remnants of fundamentalism, intellectual terrorism, and the waves of takfirism and takfirists (those who accuse other Muslims of apostasy.)”
The Ministry of Endowment ordered the removal of all political signs and banners inside mosques, Deputy Imam of Al-Azhar Abbas Shouman said in a Saturday statement and sent a warning to Ansar al- Sunna Islamist group against any attempts to infringe on the jurisdiction of the ministry.
Shouman stressed the need to rename all the mosques, which carry the name or title of any group, and urged mosques away from politics.
On May 10, a court adjourned a case filed by Nasser Ali Moussa, owner of Al-Baraheen Company which operates six Islamist TV channels, against the closure of his channels to July 14. The channels include the hard-line Islamist channels Al-Hafiz, Al-Nas, and Al-Khalijiya.
The court ruled in September that the broadcast licenses of the channels be permanently revoked for “stirring sectarian strife, degrading human dignity, violating the privacy of others, and broadcasting profanity,” according to Youm7.
Coptic Christian Egyptian actor Hany Ramzy previously sued the channel for “degrading his beliefs” and Egyptian actress Ilham Shaheen also filed a lawsuit against it in August 2012 for “accusing her of adultery.”
Nilesat closed ten “sectarian” TV stations in 2013 after receiving international complaints against them, head of the Egyptian satellite company Nilesat Tharwat Mekki said in December 2013, Saudi newspaper Al-Watan reported.
Other Islamist, pro-Brotherhood channels broadcasting from outside of Egypt have emerged on Nilesat, including Al-Shareia and Rabaa channels.