Egypt's Nour Party condemns restrictions on mosques

Ahram Online, Thursday 12 Sep 2013

Egypt's largest Salafist party speaks out against plans by the interim government to close small mosques and control imams

Sherif Taha
Sherif Taha, spokesperson for Egypt's largest Salafist party (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The Nour Party has criticised a move by the interim government to control imams and mosques.

On Sunday, Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Goma said the ministry would limit prayers to mosques controlled by the ministry, allow only Al-Azhar-qualified imams to preach in mosques, shut down small mosques that are often led by independent imams, and ban donations from inside mosques that "go to those who do not fear God."

The move would  promote tolerance and moderate Islamic values, Goma claimed.

Sherif Taha, spokesperson for Egypt's largest Salafist party, criticised the move, claiming mosques were already crowded during Friday prayers and it would become worse if small, neighbourhood mosques were closed.

The Nour Party also opposes restriction on imams because many highly respected preachers do not have a degree from Al-Azhar, the highest seat of Islamic learning in Egypt, Taha said.

"Scientific criteria, not loyalty to the authorities or security considerations should decide preachers' eligibility," Taha added.

Sectarian and aggressive religious rhetoric has been blamed by some observers for inciting violence since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July. 


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