The Ministry of Religious Endowments published on Monday the prescribed weekly Friday sermon for Islamic preachers to follow in the upcoming prayer.
The text of the sermon is entitled “The dangers of destructive calls and the necessity to counter them”. It went further to discuss nationalism and obedience to leaders and “guardians” as a part of the “obey God and serve the nation” concept.
The text focused on “destructive calls” to destabilise the country, while not directly referring to the ongoing calls for protests against the current government. The sermon described those who call for protesting as “ill-hearted”, saying they “do not believe in the country”.
Since 3 July 2013 to date, Egypt’s religious institutions have played a key role in bestowing legitimacy on the post-30 June government, while opponents still describe it as an authoritarian regime that ascended to power through a “coup”.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has been pushing institutions in charge of religious affairs across the country, including Al-Azhar and other religious authorities, to renew religious discourse. The state seeks to rid religious rhetoric from extremist ideologies, and promote “moderate” Islamic teachings.
Such measures to tighten control over mosques have been taking place since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Hours after the ouster, religious channels supportive of Morsi were forcibly closed, being accused of “inciting violence”.