Wave of Fake News on Egyptian Authorities Shuttering Mosques

Saturday, 15 June, 2019 - 09:15 -

Wave of Fake News on Egyptian Authorities Shuttering Mosques

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The Ibn Tulun Mosque in old Cairo. Reuters file photo
Cairo - Waleed Abdul Rahman
The Egyptian government has refuted claims on thousands of mosques being shut as a result of its counter-terrorism plan.

A number of false news reports were published on social media and other online platforms had triggered public concerns.

The Egyptian government has become the target of allegations after having imposed a plethora of measures to regulate and protect mosques, preachers and religious institutions against the dissemination extremist ideology.

Rumors recently claimed that nearly 20,000 Islamic places of worship were shuttered by the Awqaf Ministry, which issued a statement reaffirming that no mosque was closed all over Egypt, and that the raging controversy was baseless. 

The Awqaf Ministry, on Friday, said it was shutting some platforms on Friday, the day on which a speech is given by Muslim clerics and preachers, but reopening the venue for prayers. This is part of its effort to reign in deviating preachers from spreading a message of extremism and block terror groups from reaching out to the public and susceptible youth.

Confirming that it is responsible for regulating more than 198,000 mosques across the country, the ministry noted that this figure still does not cover the undeclared venues political Islamist groups could be exploiting in the name of religion. 

On another note, Awqaf’s statement also denied rumors on allowing the construction of unlicensed mosques. 

“The ministry prohibits the construction of mosques without an official license thereof,” it confirmed, adding that licensed mosques are focused on the memorization verses from the Quran, and on serving as medical centers to provide health and community services for citizens and nurseries for children.

The Egyptian government also denied other rumors that went viral on social media and online platforms accusing authorities of “imposing new taxes, discriminating against Sinai Peninsula locals when hiring civil servants, and selling off public sector companies to foreign investors.”