26,000 MB and Salafists prevented from giving Friday sermons
Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa - YOUM7/Kareem Abdul Kareem
By SARA OSAMA SHOUREAP

CAIRO: The Ministry of Religious Endowments (Awqaf) barred 26,000 Muslim Brotherhood members and Salafists from giving Friday prayer sermons, according to Al-Shorouq.

An informed source at the Religious Endowment Ministry who requested anonymity told Al-Shorouq Saturday that Minister of Religious Endowment Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa gave instructions to prevent MB supporters or Salafist preachers from giving sermons during Ramadan.

Since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, the Ministry of Religious Endowments has imposed restrictions on preachers who call for inciting violence and protests during Friday sermons.

On March 11, the ministry decided to put all mosques in Egypt under its supervision for a period not exceeding one month, according to Youm7.

Gomaa met Sunday with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to discuss means of applying the decree of restricting preaching to graduates of Al-Azhar who have authorizations, Youm7 reported

Gomaa said that they are currently studying sending preachers to mosques, and said there are about 96,000 preachers hired by the ministry and the number of mosques does not exceed 80,000.

About 27,000 small mosques throughout governorates were closed by the Ministry of Religious Endowments Friday and prevented from giving Friday sermons for violating the decree that states that Friday sermons should be held in big mosques and not “Zawya” (small mosques), the source said.

He added that the ministry will hold a “follow up committee” to observe mosques during Ramadan to make sure that mosques follow the law.

Nour Party member Shabaan Abdel Aleem told Al-Shorouq that the final decisions of the Religious Endowment Ministry do not solve problems but instead increase “polarization and tension.”

Former President Adly Mansour adopted a decree June 5 that bans preaching at mosques by preachers not appointed by the Ministry of Religious Endowments or non-graduates from Al-Azhar from delivering sermons or giving lessons at mosques.

The Ministry of Religious Endowments issued a statement on June 7 warning preachers against giving sermons without authorization.

The ministry urged authorities to take the necessary procedures to protect mosques, along with the ministry-affiliated preachers against any assault, the statement added.

Salafi preachers are prohibited from giving sermons in Cairo mosques even if they possess a certificate from Al-Azhar, Gaber Tayee, deputy head of the Ministry of Religious Endowments told Youm7 last April.

Additionally reporting by Ismail Refaat and Mohamed al-Galy

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