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Egypt bans books on Muslim Brotherhood entering mosques

A woman speaks on her mobile phone as she chooses a selection of books at Cairo's historic al-Azbakeya book market at downtown in Cairo on 16 January 2019 [Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images]

Egypt's Ministry of Endowments has announced that it will prevent books on extremism and the Muslim Brotherhood from entering mosques in the next 15 days.

Any books on this subject that are already there will be removed, it added. Minister of Endowments Mokhtar Gomaa will examine the publications in mosque libraries and remove any books or magazines with "extremist ideology" or which belong to an "extremist group", the ministry explained.

Another official called on mosques and Islamic centres to "purify" libraries from Brotherhood publications.

"Any book authored by a Salafist or a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or Gamaa Islamiya will be removed," said the ministry's undersecretary, Gaber Tayee.

Imams have been asked to take a pledge to seek permission from the General Administration of Religious Guidance on any book which will be included in mosque libraries and those who fail to do so will be punished.

READ: Austria, court rules Muslim Brotherhood not a terrorist group

The ban on Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated books in mosques is the latest in a long line of policies that have resulted in the systematic repression of the organisation since the 2013 military takeover of power.

In September of that year, the regime banned the group and three months later declared it a terrorist organisation and arrested senior members of the Guidance Office and Shura Council, then moved on to members within the military, judiciary, NGOs, media and universities.

Members have had their assets frozen, face charges of being part of a terror organisation, and been systematically tortured and denied medical care along with other members of the opposition.

Anyone who opposes the regime is accused of being a part of the group, even if they were staunch critics or from another religion.

At the end of July, an Egyptian court sentenced 24 defendants to death after it accused them of being part of the Muslim Brotherhood and killing police officers.

Last month the Egyptian government began implementing a law stipulating the dismissal of Muslim Brotherhood members from public and private institutions, with the Supreme Council for Universities describing them as loyal to terror groups.

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