Egypt's government pledges to fire Imams promoting radical thought in North Sinai

Ahram Online , Sunday 2 Nov 2014

The religious endowment ministry announces that it will fire any Imam or any mosque employee proven to be hiding tunnels and weapons or promoting radical thought

Smoke rises after a house is blown up during a military operation by Egyptian security forces in the Egyptian city of Rafah, near the border with southern Gaza Strip October 29, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

The religious endowment ministry declared that it would fire any imam or employee in North Sinai proven to have knowledge of underground tunnels or weapons hidden under and in the governorate’s mosques.

In a statement published early Sunday the ministry also stated that it would fire any imam, employee or worker using the governorate’s mosques to spread radical thought or incitement. 

The ministry’s announcement comes after the spread of photos online showing weapons and tunnels found in a mosque in Rafah last April. Since 2011, the Egyptian armed forces destroyed 1,813 tunnels between North Sinai and Gaza 

The ministry also demanded in its statement that imams cease the spread of publications, cds or audio cassettes unless they have received written authorisation from the head of the endowment directorate in the governorate.

Last week, Egyptian authorities began the evacuation of hundreds of families living near the Rafah border crossings as part of the Egyptian army's campaign against militants in the area. 

The Egyptian army has been facing a decade-long jihadist militant insurgency in Sinai, with militant attacks increasing over the past year and expanding into Cairo and the Nile Delta, killing hundreds of army and police personnel. Civilians have also been caught up in the violence.

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