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Egypt mosques given 10 days to remove all donation boxes

Muslim worshippers, mask-clad and distanced from each other due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, perform the Friday prayers in the courtyard of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo Egypt on 28 August 2020 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images]
Muslim worshippers, mask-clad and distanced from each other due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, perform the Friday prayers in the courtyard of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo Egypt on 28 August 2020 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images]

Egypt's Ministry of Awqaf (Endowments) decided on Friday that all mosques in the country are to remove donation boxes.

"It is prohibited to collect any money, donations or cash assistance in mosques for any reason, and it is strictly forbidden to place any donation boxes inside or outside the mosque from any party or individuals," the decision stipulates.

Minister of Endowments Muhammad Mukhtar Gomaa has given mosques ten days to comply with the ban.

Cash donations in mosques will now need to follow a particular process whereby they transfer their donations to the Fund for Building Mosques and Shrines at the Central Bank of Egypt or to a designated donations account at the bank.

Speaking to the Extra News channel on Saturday, the head of the religious sector at the ministry, Hisham Abdel Aziz explained that the aim of the ban is "to achieve the highest levels of transparency".

He clarified that the decision does not mean banning donations, but rather legalising the process of fundraising. "This step comes in light of financial digitisation and financial inclusion," he added.

On Saturday Khaled El-Jundi, a member of the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs, welcomed the move and said on the DMC TV channel that donation boxes facilitate corruption and pose a national security threat.

There are fears, however, that the funds are now being channeled through government accounts where they may not be spent on the mosques.

READ: Egypt bans books on Muslim Brotherhood entering mosques

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