The Ministry of Religious Endowments said it will put schools allegedly belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood under scrutiny, and will change their current management.
In response to a TV interview aired on Sunday between anchor Ahmed Moussa and Muslim Brotherhood dissident Tharwat Al-Kharbawy, Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Goma’a said: “We will not allow the prevalence of some Islamic cultures that do not belong to Al-Azhar or the ministry’s supervision.”
He added that all private schools affiliated to religious associations and their employees should immediately be put under surveillance, including teachers and workers.
During the interview, which was aired on private TV channel Sada Al-Balad, Al-Kharbawy said there are some schools belong to the “terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group” calling on citizens not to pay water or electricity bills. He added that they additionally have “misconceptions about Islam”.
He called on unifying the syllabus of the religious schools, whether public or private. Al-Kharbawy added that allowing them to teach additional religious syllabus based on their own choices imposes a severe threat on the mindset of our kids and upcoming generations.
In the wake of the 30 June uprising and ouster of the Brotherhood-affiliated regime, Egypt has witnessed a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, whether individuals, groups or institutions allegedly affiliated to them.
On Saturday, Egypt’s most prominent Sunni institution, Al-Azhar, filed a complaint against TV presenter Islam El-Behiry, accusing him of “deliberately aiming to make people question their beliefs”.
There have been constant attempts by the Ministry of Religious Endowments to control religious speech. In March, the ministry said it will hold a general national conference in May in response to President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s call for renewing religious speech.
A few days before he handed over power in June 2014, former interim president Adly Mansour amended the Speech Law criminalising clerics who preach without prior notice to the Ministry of Religious Endowments. The law allows for their imprisonment for a period between three to nine months, and a fine of EGP 20,000 – duplicating the penalty if the act is repeated.
The amendments of the Speech Law modified the penalties from the original draft issued in 1996. The previous penalties were imprisonment for no longer than one month and an EGP 100 fine.