In the latest measure against pro-democracy supporters in Egypt, the coup authorities have banned 55,000 Imams from delivering the important Friday sermons.
The interim Minister of Religious Affairs, Mohamed Mokhtar Jomaa, said that the Imams do not have licences to deliver the sermons and that they are regarded as “terrorists who pose a threat to Egyptian security”.
The move will, in effect, close 55,000 mosques as they have no alternative Imams available.
Commenting on this measure, Egyptian historian Mohamed al-Jawwadi said that this is the first time in Egyptian history that this number of mosques is being closed. “This man surpasses what Ataturk, who ended the Islamic Caliphate and founded secular Turkey, did when he fought against Islam at the beginning of the 20th century,” he said.
As most Egyptian Muslims, either religious or secular, attend the Friday sermons, the coup government believes that Imams have the opportunity to affect the congregation’s emotions. Most, the minister claimed, will then attend anti-government demonstrations.
Since the coup which ousted President Mohammed Morsi in July, Egyptian security forces have attacked several mosques and attempted to prevent the Friday prayers completely in order to undermine the efforts to begin anti-coup protests. Thousands of protesters have been killed by security forces and the thugs which support them.