In a further move against Islamists, the Ministry of Religious Endowments announced on Sunday it has terminated the contract of a preacher working at the ministry’s directorate in Matariya, after he left banners by Salafi group Al-Gameya Al-Shareya inside one of Matariya’s mosques.
The ministry decided to refer all workers of the Al-Nour Al-Mohamady mosque in Matariya and its preacher to investigations.
Al-Gameya Al-Shareya is long known for its Salafi affiliations and charity works across hundreds of towns and villages, especially in rural Egypt.
The ministry has been taking strict, often described as hostile, measures against religious-affiliated groups or those suspected of belonging to any of them, especially the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.
Furthermore, the ministry suspended on Saturday an Imam in Fayoum, banning him from giving lessons and preaching in the governorate’s mosques. This was due to “not following the policy of the ministry of not discussing politics in religious sermons”, said ministry deputy Abdel Nasser Atian.
Atian added that the ministry has been emphasising that preachers should not include political rhetoric or opinions in their teachings and sermons.
Last week, also in Fayoum, the ministry took over three mosques which were found to have been “controlled by fundamentalist groups”.
Since the ouster of the Brotherhood regime in 2013 and banning of the group, the ministry has adopted the state speech in its “war on terrorism”. In November 2014, it has attempted to modify Friday speeches to serve political goals such as religiously prohibiting protests.
“I would rather call it an act of discipline rather than control,” religious scholar Khalid Al-Gendy previously told Daily News Egypt, commenting on the civil arrests during a religious discourse forum. He added: “There is no value for any nation without discipline. It is a normal regulation to eliminate the spread of strife and extreme.”
Moreover, dozens of preachers were banned from giving sermons across Egypt for not following the new ministerial procedures and acquiring permissions for holding sermons.