Ministry directs preachers to not express stance on declaration

The Endowments Ministry ordered its preachers nationwide not to express their stance on the 22 November constitutional declaration, which gave President Mohamed Morsy’s decrees immunity from judicial challenges.

Ministry spokesperson Salah Abdel Qawy told Turkish news agency Anadolu that the ministry has decided to ban discussion of the constitutional referendum, the president or any other political issues or parties, saying that the new measure aims to preserve mosques’ independence and neutrality.

Abdel Qawy added that Minister Talaat Afify had circulated a bulletin to all ministry departments regarding the decision.

The decision came after increasing concerns about preachers affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood using mosques as platforms to defend Morsy and attack his opponents.

Morsy’s declaration has sparked an uproar among liberal political groups, which have staged massive protests in opposition, as well as judges, who have started an open-ended strike. The move, however, had gained broad support among Islamist powers.

A preacher enraged the congregation at Al-Sharbatly Mosque in Cairo’s Fifth Settlement during Friday’s sermon by voicing support for the declaration made by Morsy, who was present at the mosque. Angry worshippers interrupted the sermon and demanded the imam to step down.

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