Egypt stands by standardised sermons decision

The Egyptian government says it will not backtrack on its decision to standardise sermons at Friday prayers, Egypt's Ahram Online reported Tuesday (July 19th).

Last week, the endowments ministry announced that Muslim preachers would be required to take their Friday sermon from a pre-written script, in a move meant to tighten control on religious discourse and combat extremist views.

Despite some opposition, Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said Monday the decision is irrevocable, adding that pre-written sermons the government started to issue would only run as a "guideline" until a final endorsement by a committee of state-hired scholars.

The government began posting weekly sermons on its website a few weeks ago.

Gomaa said the ministry would take a "more serious" step every week towards implementing state-issued sermons, a move he says is aimed at "improving the form and performance of sermons" and crushing radical ideas.

The move is part of government efforts to stop the use of mosques as a platform for political groups and to clamp down on extremist views.

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