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Is Egypt imposing fees on Friday prayer attendees?

Muslims pray at a mosque in Cairo, Egypt on 21 August, 2018 [Ahmed Al Sayed/Anadolu Agency]
Muslims pray at a mosque in Cairo, Egypt on 21 August 2018 [Ahmed Al Sayed/Anadolu Agency]

The spokesperson for the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowment refuted as “groundless” reports that the government is planning to impose fees of Muslims attending Friday prayers in mosques.

News has spread that Egypt was planning to impose a charge of three Egyptian pounds ($0.19) for each Muslim attending Friday prayers in a mosque in an effort to cover the cost of water and electricity bills incurred to hold the religious obligation.

This, however, has been denied by Jaber Taya who said the ministry covers all such expenses and such reports are “incorrect” and “not newsworthy”.

He added: “Next Friday will showcase the lie that fees are being imposed on worshippers.”

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Such news must not be shared without first being confirmed, he continued, because it causes unrest among Egyptians and may lead to upheaval.

Egypt has been increasing charges on basic commodities and revoking subsidies which the country’s working classes have long relied on to survive. As a result, Egypt’s auditing agency announced in July that the poverty rate in the country reached 32.5 per cent in the year 2017-2018.

The World Bank, however, sets the figure at 60 per cent.

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