Egypt has banned unauthorized preachers from giving sermons or teaching Islam in mosques and other public places, according to a decree on Saturday marking a further step in official efforts to curb Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamic extremist influence.
Al-Arabiya via BCF (h/t Susan K) The decree issued by interim President Adly Mansour’s office also threatened fines and jail for freelance imams, especially if they wore clerical garments associated with the respected al-Azhar center of Sunni learning in Cairo. Only al-Azhar officials and graduates as well preachers from the ministry or the grand mufti’s office will be allowed to wear the trademark “turban” – a red hat with a white cloth band – and robes that designate an al-Azhar cleric, it said.
According to the decree, “only designated specialists at the Ministry of Religious Endowments and authorized preachers from al-Azhar shall be permitted to practice public preaching and religious lessons in mosques or similar public places.” Unauthorized preachers face fines jail terms up to a year and fines up to 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($7,000). Wearing or denigrating al-Azhar garments in any way will carry similar penalties, it added
Selected employees of the religious endowments ministry will be empowered by the justice ministry to arrest anyone caught violating the decree, it added. “No preacher will mount a minbar next Friday without a permit,” the ministry said on its Facebook page, referring to the traditional raised pulpit in a mosque. The decision was taken to “preserve national security,” it said.