Egyptian Muslims furious over state-written sermons

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Egyptian Muslims furious over state-written sermons

Post by DJKeefy »

Inside a large mosque in the Nile Delta, an Egyptian cleric looked over his congregation as he climbed the pulpit clutching a piece of paper and began to speak — delivering a 13-minute discourse on the virtues of personal hygiene.

For the first time in his career, the young imam found himself forced to read a Friday sermon printed from the official website of the Religious Endowments Ministry.

Minutes after he ended the unusually short sermon, uproar spread through the congregation.

Some men in the crowd began shouting “No to written sermons!” while others tried to hush them — a commotion filmed on cellphones and posted online. Similar scenes occurred across the country and in the capital, where one angry worshipper reportedly snatched the paper from the hands of the cleric.

The clamor was in response to a controversial bid by the government to establish control over Egypt’s religious discourse. Launched last month, it mandates that all imams at state-run mosques read pre-written sermons distributed by the ministry. The measure — which expands upon a 3-year-old effort to provide general guidelines — is unprecedented in Egypt, even under previous autocratic governments.

Officials say the written sermons are aimed at preventing radicalism. Indeed, extremists’ ideas are not uncommon topics in mosque sermons in the Middle East — and in countries such as Saudi Arabia, where the political and religious establishments are intertwined, similar efforts are in place.

“We will be contributing to shaping a new way of thinking,” said Mokhtar Gomaa, the minister for religious endowments, when rolling out the first official sermon on July 15.

But in Egypt, home to the Muslim world’s oldest and most renowned Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar, the move immediately hit a nerve.

Clerics — who are among the thousands of Al-Azhar graduates — perceived the state-dictated sermons as an insult to their status. Some blamed President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a former military chief, for going too far in trying to stifle free speech.

“I found myself between a hammer and an anvil,” said the young Nile Delta cleric, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being penalized for criticizing the government.

“I was climbing the pulpit with one eye on this piece of paper, knowing it would instigate anger among the worshippers, and another eye on the ministry’s inspector,” whose report could lead to penalties or even dismissal.

The measures have exposed a rift between Al-Azhar, which is constitutionally tasked with looking after religious affairs, and the Religious Endowments Ministry, the government’s religious arm in controlling mosques and clerics. While the ministry promoted the standardized sermons, Al-Azhar condemned them.

Many clerics said that worshippers — who can easily read the sermons online beforehand — would turn away from the state-hired clerics typically found in large mosques in Egypt’s major cities. Some feared the measures would drive people to ultraconservative Salafists and other hard-line clerics who occupy unofficial pulpits in more remote areas beyond government control. How many people already attend such mosques — which are illegal — is not known.

Source: The Associated Press

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Re: Egyptian Muslims furious over state-written sermons

Post by Who2 »

Well at least he could read, which in my book is a bonus.
He should read a lot more, as was spoken to Mohamed PBUH, you know there a lot of good books out there,
Try broadening one's outlooks....makes a change.... 8)
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Re: Egyptian Muslims furious over state-written sermons

Post by newcastle »

It seems the government is already back-pedaling on this:

Cairo: A mosque preacher appeared on state television improvising the Friday sermon that precedes the weekly congregational prayer, signaling the Egyptian government’s backdown on pre-written sermons that has triggered controversy in the country.

Last month, the Ministry of Religious Affairs ordered mosque preachers to deliver unified sermons authored in advance by authorities. The move angered clerics of Al Azhar, Egypt’s influential Sunni Islamic seat of learning. Al Azhar rejected the plan as superficial and said it would “freeze creative thinking”.

On Friday, prominent preacher Ahmad Omar Hashem took the pulpit in a Cairo suburban mosque and delivered a sermon broadcast live on Egyptian television without reading from paper in the presence of Minister of Religious Affairs Mohammad Jumaa- a staunch advocate of pre-written sermons.
Jumaa previously said that the plan is aimed at reducing sermon time length and curbing extremism.

Egyptian media on Friday quoted a statement released by the Ministry of Religious Affairs as saying that it is “optional” for mosque preachers to observe pre-written sermons.

Egyptian authorities have tightened control on mosques in the mostly Muslim country since mid-2013 when the army deposed Islamist president Mohammad Mursi following enormous protests against his rule.

The control is aimed at denying Islamists a major platform to influence worshippers. ... -1.1877939
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Re: Egyptian Muslims furious over state-written sermons

Post by Dusak »

... to influence the worshipers in regards to personal hygiene? Well, if that was really the intention of the first one as posted by Keefy, me thinks that the message fell on deaf ears. :lol:
Life is your's to do with as you wish- do not let other's try to control it for you. Count Dusak- 1345.
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