As a part of its ongoing attempts to control religious speech in Egypt, the Ministry of Religious Endowments suspended five preachers in the Minya governorate for deviating from the pre-determined Friday sermon.
The five preachers are among dozens of other preachers who were banned since late 2013.
According to the Deputy Minister of Religious Endowments in Minya, Mohamed Mahmoud, one of the suspended preachers discussed the “importance of time” in his sermon, in one of the mosques that belong to Al-Gameya Al-Shareya in Minya.
The preachers were referred to investigations and the ministry cancelled their sermon licences, Mahmoud added.
In November 2014, the ministry decided to unify the topic of all Friday sermons in all Egyptian mosques nationwide. Every week, two days before the Friday prayer, the ministry publishes the sermon topic on its official website for preachers to follow.
On Thursday, the ministry outlined the sermon topic as “the discipline of dialogue”.
Egypt’s religious institutions have been acting as the vanguard of “spreading moderate Islamic teaching”, which is arguably clear of political rhetoric. Dozens of other preachers were suspended and referred to investigations for similar accusations or for preaching without permission.
In a recent incident, an imam was suspended in mid October for “preaching radical ideologies” in a mosque that falls under the ministry’s administration in Nabaroh city, Daqahleya governorate.
Meanwhile, the ministry is holding a conference in Cairo on Saturday to address religious rhetoric in Egypt, hosting religious scholars from all over the Islamic world.