14 mosques closed in Sharqia due to imam shortage



Mon, 31 Jul 2017 - 11:31 GMT


Mon, 31 Jul 2017 - 11:31 GMT

Mosques in Egypt -via Wikimedia commons

Mosques in Egypt -via Wikimedia commons

CAIRO – 31 July 2017: About fourteen mosques were closed during the past couple weeks in Sharqia governorate due to a shortage in the number of imams, according to Undersecretary of Religious Endowments (Awqaf) in Sharqia Zakaria Al Katieb on Monday.

In statements to Egypt Today, Katieb said that closing those mosques is better than leaving it to anyone, especially those with the extremist thoughts, who use the shortage of imams affiliated with Al-Azhar (the most prestigious Islamic authority) and take the chance for spreading their “poisoned thoughts.”

Shortly after closing those mosques, Sharqia residents demanded that the ministry to provide imams and solve the shortage.

Since September 2013, Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa banned anyone who is not affiliated with Al-Azhar from speaking or preaching in mosques, so as “not to use it for political or extremist goals.”

By June 2014, the ministry said that the ban came in force and that anyone who speaks inside mosques and is not affiliated with Al-Azhar will be arrested, regardless of how well-known or famous he may be.

“Anyone who preaches inside mosques without permission from Al-Azhar will be jailed for no less than three months and no more than a year, and will also be fined no less than LE 20,000 ($1,116) and no more than LE 50,000,” Al-Azhar’s preaching law states.

On January 2015, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi called for renewing religious dialogue to confront extremist thoughts and terrorism. “What we are witnessing of terrorist attacks is happening due to the misunderstanding of some religious rules and texts,” Sisi said in an official statement.

Furthermore, he called on Al-Azhar officials to finish all the procedures needed for the renewing process, which will make the Islamic religious texts, which are believed to be applicable for all times and ages, more compatible with the current times.



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