• 05:38
  • Thursday ,14 July 2016

Egyptian preachers to recite government-issued speeches at Friday prayers


Copts and Poliltical Islam


Thursday ,14 July 2016

Egyptian preachers to recite government-issued speeches at Friday prayers

The Egyptian government said Tuesday that Muslim preachers in the country must now adhere to speeches issued by the Ministry of Religious Endowments during Friday sermons; a controversial move that authorities say is aimed at combating extremism.

The Ministry of Religious Endowments has since 2014 been determining topics for weekly sermons delivered during Friday prayers across the country, but the latest move would further restrict preachers in Egypt's more than 100,000 mosques to read out the same text.
"The objective [of the decision] is not at all political," Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said Tuesday, stressing that the aim is to push moderate Islamic ideology and ensure that radical ideas do not spread.
Officials say the move will help address problems in preaching, including “being lengthy” or “politicising topics.”
The sermons are to be drawn up by ministry officials and senior scholars from Egypt's Al-Azhar — the highest seat of religious learning in Sunni Islam — with contributions from members of parliament's religious affairs committee, psychologists and sociologists, the head of the ministry's religious division Gaber Tayea told Ahram Online.
The minister, who has yet to set a date for implementing the decision, said he himself would deliver the pre-written sermon next Friday.
He said clerics aged up to 45 years would be selected by the ministry to be trained for preaching at mosques.