Saturday, June 07, 2014

Egyptian Government Decree Bars Unapproved Imams From Preaching Publicly

Reuters reports that today the Egyptian government issued a decree allowing only state approved clerics to preach in mosques or other public places:
According to the decree, "only designated specialists at the Ministry of Religious Endowments and authorized preachers from al-Azhar shall be permitted to practice public preaching and religious lessons in mosques or similar public places."
Only al-Azhar officials and graduates as well preachers from the ministry or the grand mufti's office will be allowed to wear the trademark "turban" - a red hat with a white cloth band - and robes that designate an al-Azhar cleric, it said.
Unauthorized preachers face fines jail terms up to a year and fines up to 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($7,000). Wearing or denigrating al-Azhar garments in any way will carry similar penalties, it added.
The decree is another step in the government's attempt to prevent mosques from being used as recruiting grounds for Islamist political parties.