New Cabinet announces focus on politicized religion in first press conference
Minister of Religious Endowment Mokhtar Gomaa - YOUM7/Sami Waheeb

CAIRO: The Minister of Endowments Mokhtar Gomaa said his ministry would focus on tackling religious hate speech, in a press conference held by the new Cabinet Tuesday.

The 34-minister Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab who was reappointed by President Sisi, swore in Tuesday morning, with 13 new ministers following the interim government Cabinet.

Gomaa said the 89,000 employees of the ministry would work to eliminate polarizing religious speech that incited violence. In the last days of his tenure, former president Adly Mansour issued a presidential decree banning non-appointed preachers at the Ministry of Religious Endowment or non-graduates from Al-Azhar Institute from delivering sermons or giving lessons at mosques. The Salafist Nour party has announced it would appeal the decision.

Gomaa added that the ministry would modify religious textbooks in cooperation with the Sheikh of al-Azhar, Pope Tawadros, and Ministry of Education.

Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou also spoke at the press conference, and said his ministry is planning to revive tourism though efforts to lift travel bans to Egypt, especially affecting the Sinai region, although he said the Red Sea region is “doing fine” compared to other areas of the Sinai.

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