Mosques are the only acceptable place for Friday prayers, the Ministry of Endowment said Saturday, adding that praying in public squares “has been employed in a negative political context and mixes between the political and the religious”.
Al-Azhar representative Abbas Shouman said that praying in public spaces and squares should not take place unless there is an “urgent purpose” and it should take place after taking the permission of the “ruler or whom he commissions”. He added that the Ministry of Endowment is the commissioned authority to grant permission for Friday Prayers.
Since the military backed ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July, the Ministry of Endowment has been enforcing regulations that would control the Friday orations and limiting them to preachers certified by the ministry.
Starting 31 January, the ministry has created an online forum for the selection of a unified topic for all imams to abide by every week.
After the 25 January Revolution a number of Friday and Eid prayers were held in Tahrir Square, some of which followed by protests, while others included promotional campaigns for elections.