Imams protest at Awqaf Ministry
MENA, Tuesday 1 Mar 2011
Over two hundred preachers and imams call for the independence of Al-Azhar and an end to state security control over choice of preachers in mosques

Around two hundred preachers and imams from district offices of the Ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) protested in front of the Ministry's main offices for the second day in a row, requesting Al-Azhar's independence and the return of its institutions under one entity that includes the endowments, Al- Azhar institutes and university and the fatwa.

They also requested that Al-Azhar preserve its dignity and stressed that the Islamic Sharia is "the primary source of legislation" as per the second article of the constitution, in addition to the need to improve the conditions of the imams and workers in mosques.

In a memo submitted to the Minister of Religious Endowments, Abdalla Al-Husseini, the imams and preachers requested a "levelling" system similar to other sectors such as that of the judges. They also asked that the leadership roles in the ministry, including the role of Al-Azhar head, be filled through elections and not appointment, in addition to preserving the endowment funds and preventing personal access to them or their allocation to charity projects.

In addition, they requested pay increases, a greater supply of books and the means to enhance their capacities to do their jobs. Removing state security control over the ministry was also demanded, as now they are involved in selection of the imams and preaches. They also asked that corruption and administrative issues be faced, particularly in the district offices in the Governorates.

The protestors came from Beheira, Daqahlia, Monufia, Sohag, Kafr El-Sheikh and Fayoumto protest in front of the Ministry's main offices, asking to meet the minister to discuss their demands.