Egypt is on the road to renewing the religious discourse after all mosques have been placed under the Awqaf’s authority, according to Minister of Endowments, Mohammad Mukhtar Jumaa, .
The religious discourse can often be brought up in public spheres of life with religious figures commenting on politics and the day-to-day happenings. Whilst this is common in every religion, in recent years, Egypt has been faced with a wave of terrorism and radical, extremist thought.
President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi has repeatedly called for renewing the religious discourse as part of the war against terrorism. In order to curb extremist ideology that was often preached by extremist figures, mosques needed to be put under the Ministry of Awqaf’s jurisdiction.
Jumaa said that the first stage of renewing religious discourse was the ‘purification stage’ before taking control over the minbar. This meant purifying the minbar of extremists who spread violent ideas among citizens.
“There used to be very important mosques outside the control of the ministry, such as Asad Ibn al-Forat Mosque, Aziz bellah Mosque and Al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque in Alexandria,” said Jumaa.
Although putting them all under the control of the ministry is difficult, today all mosques in Egypt are under the control of the Ministry of Awqaf, the minister added.
Jumaa added that a number of laws were issued regarding the renewal of religious discourse for the sake of restoring the ministry’s minbars from the tight grips of extremists. “All mosques have been recovered from the hands of extremists,” Jumaa said.
“We have established an international training academy and we have allocated LE 40 million to spread the message abroad and to restore the role of Egypt in protecting Islam,” referred Jumaa.
According to the report, “The International Religious Freedom in Egypt” released by the US Department of State in 2016, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has called on scholars to renew religious discourse to combat extremist ideology. Sisi has repeatedly stressed that defeating terrorism is on top of his priorities and renewing religious discourse is one way to do that.