Police use force to break up imam sit-in in downtown Cairo

Police on Tuesday used force to break up a sit-in organized by imams who say they were prevented from working in mosques affiliated with the Ministry of Religious Endowments under the former regime. 

Three imams were injured and taken to Mounira Hospital after police dispersed their demonstrations, which began on Monday outside the ministry, located in downtown Cairo.

The imams say that despite passing admissions exams, the ministry failed to appoint them. During former President Hosni Mubarak's regime, security authorities selected which imams worked in ministry mosques, they say.

They began the sit-in to demand guarantees of employment for those who pass exams organized by the ministry. They also demand the dismissal of deputy ministers who they accuse of being loyal to the former regime.

A group of imams went to the Lawyers Syndicate to file a complaint and to put forward their case at the syndicate’s Human Rights Committee.

Despite the dispersal of the protesters, some imams continued the sit-in to denounce their exclusion and the forceful dispersal by police.

A number of imams told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the police violence was an insult against “peaceful” protesters demonstrating to obtain their “legitimate right” to employment. 

They accused the former State Security apparatus of preventing them from obtaining their rights.

One imam said, “We will not budge from the Ministry of Religious Endowments until we obtain our rights or die for them, and our numbers will increase day by day since we reject this intransigence, insult and violence.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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