Egypt's Religious Endowments Ministry has imposed punitive measures against three imams, working at mosques in the Nile Delta governorate of Qalubyia, after they dabbled in campaigns to promote parliamentary candidates in a breach of the ministry's instructions.
Earlier this week, the ministry, which is responsible for the county's mosques, has warned against exploiting mosques in the campaigns of the parliamentary elections – slated to commence later this month – demanding all imams to distance themselves from participating in such activities to avoid any legal or administrative accountability. Candidates are disallowed to utilise places of worship in their electoral campaigns as per the regulations announced by the Egyptian National Elections Authority (NEA).
In an official statement on Sunday, the ministry said it relieved an imam of his duties as a director of one of the ministry's departments in the governorate, and re-posted him to become an imam, with two months deducted of his monthly payment.
Two other imams have been transferred to South Sinai and Alexandria for the same reasons, the statement added.
The ministry called for all imams to not embroil mosques or imam uniforms into the elections process, warning of imposing "deterrent penalties to protect the mosques' sanctity and imams' public image."
Egypt braces for holding the House of Representatives elections over two stages between 21 October and 8 December; the first stage will cover 14 governorates and take place from 21 October to 30 November, while the second stage will cover 13 governorates and take place from 4 November to 14 December.
The 568-seat assembly will be filled by the individual candidacy and closed party lists systems equally as per the recent amendments to the elections law. One-third of the House of representatives will be appointed by the president of the republic.