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Egypt's new plan: 1 weekly sermon for over 80 million Muslims

After Egypt launched a campaign to unify Friday sermons in mosques across the country, some have questioned the state's real motives behind the move.
Egyptian men attend the Friday weekly prayer at al-Azhar mosque in the capital Cairo's Islamic quarter, on October 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI        (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

When Egypt’s Ministry of Religious Endowments launched a campaign last week to introduce a unified written Friday sermon, it sparked a lot of controversy. Some questioned whether having a single text read from the pulpits across the country could effectively achieve the ministry’s stated goals, namely preventing those who harbor extremist views from influencing worshippers through the weekly sermon and correctly explaining Islamic concepts through an academic, enlightened and restrained prism.

To push the other imams and preachers to comply with the written sermon, Minister of Religious Endowments Mokhtar Gomaa gave a sermon July 15 at Cairo’s Amr Bin al-As Mosque based on a written text that had previously been posted to the ministry’s website.

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