Awqaf Ministry trashes Swiss minaret ban at new year services

Deputy Minister of Awqaf (religious endowments) for Da’wah affairs, Salem Abdel Galil, slammed the Swiss legislative system which resulted in a referendum banning the construction of minarets throughout Switzerland.

During the ministry’s celebration of the Islamic new year at al-Nour mosque in Abbasiya, Abdel Galil said that the minaret ban, which more than 57 percent of Swiss voters supported in a 29 November referendum, will create many problems. He called for changing the status quo with the start of the new Islamic year and added that the ban furthers the crisis felt in mosques around the world, including Palestine. Abdel Galil said that the democracy touted by Switzerland has resulted in prejudice and legal limits on Muslims’ freedom of religion.

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Awqaf Sheikh Shawqi said that the start of the new year should inspire Muslims to work on reform and bring themselves closer to God.

The celebration was attended by Cairo Governor Abdel Azim Wazir, Minister of Awqaf Hamdy Zaqzouq, Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Mohamed Sayyid Tantawy,Chairman of the People’s Assembly Religious Affairs Committee Ahmed Omar Hashim, as well as a number of other religious figures.

Despite the presence of numerous officials, turnout was low for the new year celebration. Dozens of imams and other clerics came wearing religious garb. Representatives from the governorate’s military leadership and officials from the security directorate were also in attendance. Head of the Ashraf Syndicate Mahmoud el-Sherif and Sheikh Abdel Hady el-Qasaby of the Sufi community were also at the services, as were ambassadors from a number of Arab states.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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