Court rejects appeal on banning unlicensed preachers from giving Islamic opinions, makes ruling final



Sat, 26 Jun 2021 - 04:30 GMT


Sat, 26 Jun 2021 - 04:30 GMT

Muslim worshippers in Azhar mosque, Cairo – Reuters

Muslim worshippers in Azhar mosque, Cairo – Reuters

CAIRO – 26 June 2021: The Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court on Saturday upheld a “historic” ruling to ban unlicensed preachers from giving Islamic fatwas, saying mosques and social media have been exploited to harm the state and spread division.

The ruling prevents unlicensed preachers who have not obtained a license from the Awqaf Ministry or Al-Azhar, Egypt’s highest religious authority, from giving sermons or using the mosque minbars.

The court ruling has sent a number of important principles for its ruling:

- Islamic fatwas from unlicensed preachers and their use of social media as minbars have had a dangerous effect on the current and coming generations.

- The bitter experiences witnessed by the nation as a result of the use of mosque minbars and small mosques to mislead the poor have spread the spirit of sedition and violence.

- Giving fatwas is a practice that should not be carried out by unlicensed preachers.

- Giving fatwas should be carried out only by the qualified religious institutions of the state, given their experience and position.

- The 2014 decree of the Republic’s president has been free from the criminalization of the use of minbars and mosques to achieve political or partisan goals.

- The terrorist groups use social media to cause harm to the state and the extremism advocates use religion to seek power and earn money.

Since the beginning of his tenure, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has put forward several initiatives to confront terrorism and combat extremism.

Internally, in July 2014, President Sisi put forward the initiative to correct religious discourse after the Brotherhood and extremist organizations tried during the years preceding the June 30 revolution to impose their control over the religious discourse in Egypt and direct it to promote extremist ideas.

The Egyptian president said during his speech at the Davos Economic Forum in January 2015, that he wants to purify the religious discourse of misconceptions that led to extremism and terrorism, explaining he does not mean religious constants, but rather religious discourse that is influenced by man.

In October 2016, during the recommendations of the Youth Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Sisi directed the government, in cooperation with Al-Azhar, the Church, and all state agencies, to develop a plan that represents a strategy to lay sound foundations for correcting religious discourse within the framework of preserving the Egyptian identity in all its dimensions.

In July 2017, President Sisi issued a decision to establish the National Council to Confront Terrorism and Extremism, to mobilize institutional and societal efforts to reduce the causes of terrorism and address its effects.

The council specialized in adopting a comprehensive national strategy to confront terrorism and extremism internally and externally, and to coordinate with religious institutions and security services to enable moderate religious discourse.



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