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Egypt president Mansour signs law jailing unauthorised Islamic preachers

Legislation signed on Thursday regulates who can preach in mosques, give religious lessons and wear official clerical uniform

Ahram Online, Thursday 5 Jun 2014
Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb, Egyptian Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (Photo: Reuters)
Views: 3136
Views: 3136

Egypt's outgoing interim President Adly Mansour on Thursday signed into law a decree banning all non-certified Islamic preachers, presidential spokesman Ihab Badawi said.

The law, which also applies to public spaces used as mosques, stipulates that only employees of the country's endowments ministry (Islamic religious affairs) or the senior Islamic learning institute at Al-Azhar can preach or give religious lessons.

The permission to preach or give lessons is only issued by Al-Azhar's Grand Sheikh or the endowments minister. Persons outside of these two institutions can also be allowed to preach, but only according to the endowment ministry's regulations.

Those who violate the law can face from three months to one year in jail and/or a fine of LE20,000 to LE50,000.

The punishment is doubled in case of repeat offenses.

The presidential decree also states that only students, graduates and employees of Al-Azhar, the endowments ministry or Dar Al-Ifta, the main authority for issuing religious verdicts, are allowed to wear clerical uniform.

Unauthorised persons who wear clerical uniform will face jail sentences of one month to one year and/or a fine of LE10,000 to30,000.

Employees of the endowments ministry, as allowed by the justice minister, are allowed to stop and arrest those who violate the law.

In March, Egypt's Religious Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa placed all mosques and side-street praying areas under the authority of the ministry, while also including a timetable for the decision to come into effect.

He also prohibited any non-governmental organisation, certified or not, from collecting money in mosques outside the framework of the law.

A series of decisions coordinating the sermons of Friday prayers and assigning certified preachers came after "extremist ideas" were believed to have spread through informal prayer venues not regulated by the state. The ministry has thus undertaken a policy to adjust mosques' staff and sermons in a manner that is bipartisan. 


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07-06-2014 05:15am
Al-Azhar has made a deal with the devil! remember our greatest of Imams who didn't allow the rulers to make their schools the official state sponsored/endorsed religion because it would unduly suppress differences and independence of thought. Clearly a political ploy to further suppress the brotherhood. How many trials will they have to endure? Oh Pharoah Let our ummah go free!
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06-06-2014 11:03pm
Religious Freedom
Not sure that we should welcome a law that limits religious freedom.
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Ahmed M Ibrahim
06-06-2014 12:21pm
An epoch making decision
This is perhaps one of the most epoch making laws that President Adly Mansour has signed before his exit. The entire Islamic world should be thankful to him for this extraordinary step which would the correct interpretation of Islamic thought and ideology before the Islamic nation. As a matter of fact unauthorised and unqualified preachers have misguided the Islamic nation for centuries without any hinderance. This has given a very bad image to the Islamic faith all over the world. Egypt being the leader of the Islamic nation has great responsibility in upholding the true values of the Islamic faith.
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06-06-2014 01:29am
Strop extremism
This is well overdue move if it is designed to stop extremist preaching and destructive ideologies. Congratulations to Egypt.
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