All Egyptian mosques to be placed under authority of Ministry of Endowments

Ahram Online, MENA, Tuesday 11 Mar 2014

State continues its efforts to coordinate and depoliticise mosques throughout the country

Religious endowments minister, Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, has placed all mosques and side-street praying areas under the authority of the ministry, including a timetable for the decision to come into effect, state news agency MENA reported Tuesday.

Gomaa told MENA that mosques will first be unified in terms of preaching, this extends to finding Imam's (prayer leaders) and preachers for each venue.

Gomaa has also requested that aides devise a plan to reorganise mosque staff at all locations throughout the country.

Gomaa has additionally prohibited any non-governmental organisation, certified or not, from collecting money in mosques outside the framework of the law. He cautioned citizens from paying or donating money to anyone who can not provide an official receipt.

Although each Imam will be responsible for his mosque, the authority to appoint preachers to give speeches or lessons is contingent upon written permission from the Ministry of Endowments. Gomaa also renewed emphasis on sermon brevity and cohesion.

A series of decisions coordinating the sermons of Friday prayers and assigning certified preachers came after extremist ideas were believed to be spread through informal prayer venues not regulated by the state. The ministry has thus undertaken a policy to adjust mosques staff and sermons in a manner that is bipartisan.

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