Egypt Clamps Down On Islamists: No Preaching ‘Without A Permit’

The government has prohibited Islamist preachers from operating in mosques. Under a presidential decree issued on June 7, offenders faced imprisonment as well as heavy fines for unlicensed activities, particularly during Friday sermons.

“No preacher will mount a pulpit next Friday without a permit,” the Egyptian Justice Ministry said.

Officials said the decree was meant to reduce the influence of the ousted Muslim Brotherhood movement. They said the Brotherhood took control over most of Egypt’s 23,000 mosques during the tenure of then-President Mohammed Morsi in 2012 and 2013.

Egypt’s new president, Abdul Fatah Sisi, has waged a campaign against
the Brotherhood. In April 2014, the Justice Department authorized more than
17,000 clerics to give sermons on Friday, the Muslim day of rest. The
ministry said it detected 12,000 unauthorized preachers.

“This decree was meant to preserve national security,” the Justice Ministry said.

Under the decree, unauthorized preachers face a year in jail and a fine
of up to $7,000. The decree said the government would recognize only
preachers who graduated from the state-owned Al Azhar University. On June 7,
the Religious Endowments Ministry dismissed three state-appointed preachers
in the southern province of Minya.

“Only designated specialists at the Religious Endowments Ministry and
authorized preachers from Al Azhar shall be permitted to practice public
preaching and religious lessons in mosques or similar public places,” the
decree said.

Source : worldtribune

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