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Sheikhs banned from preaching politics - Daily News Egypt

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Sheikhs banned from preaching politics

“We talk religion... but we don’t talk politics,” says Ministry of Endowment spokesperson

Al-Azhar Sheikhs march to Tahrir Square. (DNE / FILE PHOTO/ Hassan Ibrahim)

The Ministry of Endowment on Sunday forbade its sheikhs from urging worshippers in mosques to vote one way or another on the draft constitution, scheduled for a referendum on 15 December.

Spokesperson Salama Abdel Maqsoud, said the ministry decided to prevent sheikhs from using mosques to discuss any political issue. He explained that the current political situation is polarsing Egyptians, and added that the role of Sheikhs and preachers is to call for unity and tolerance, rather than increase division.

Abdel Maqsoud said sheikhs have the right to hold political affiliations, but cannot express such affiliation within the mosque. “We talk religion, tolerance, and societal peace, but we don’t talk politics and voting decisions.”

He said if any sheikh violated the edict and tried to influence worshippers on certain political decisions he would be investigated. He added that the decision applies to Friday prayers speeches, daily religious lectures and all religious activities conducted by the ministry.

Many non-Islamist groups, judges, journalists and other groups oppose the draft constitution, saying it does not represent the Egyptian people. Accordingly, they called for a march to the presidential palace on Tuesday.

In contrast, Islamist groups have welcomed the draft constitution, rallying on Saturday to show support for it and President Mohamed Morsy.

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