Renegade preacher will be 'held to account': Egypt ministry spokesman

Ahram Online , Friday 12 Apr 2013

Ministry of Religious Endowments says it will take 'appropriate measures' after Egypt's 'revolutionary preacher' leads Friday prayers in defiance of ministry's suspension order

Egyptian Sheik Mazhar Shahin, right, is greeted by a victory signs as he talks inside the Kasr el Dobara Evangelical Church, just off Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 12, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Religious endowments ministry spokesman Salama Abdel-Qawi has accused prominent preacher Mazhar Shahin of violating the ministry's charter by leading Friday prayers at Cairo's Omar Makram Mosque in defiance of a suspension order against him, Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website reported. 

Shahin, known as the 'Tahrir Square preacher' for leading prayers during and after Egypt's 18-day uprising in 2011, defied a recent suspension order issued against him by the religious endowments (awqaf) ministry and leading midday prayers on Friday as he does every week.  

On Tuesday, Shahin was suspended from work by the ministry, which is responsible for overseeing mosque preachers countrywide, following accusations that he criticised President Mohamed Morsi during his recent sermons.

Abdel-Qawi went on to say that Shahin would be "held accountable" for his defiance in accordance with the law.

"Mazhar Shahin is sending a message to all state employees not to abide by laws and regulations," he said. "As a preacher, Shahin should have showed respect for administrative decisions."

The ministry spokesman added that the preacher "should have relied on legitimate means" of protesting his suspension. The ministry plans to investigate the case and take "appropriate measures," Abdel-Qawi asserted. 

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