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Egyptian ministry tells imams to obtain ‘written consent’ before TV appearances, social media debates

Al-Azhar Mosque in the old city of Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters)
CAIRO: The Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) has ordered imams to avoid appearing on broadcasters without “a written permission” from the ministry, a newspaper report said Sunday.
The decision also prevents imams from engaging in religious-related debates on social media platforms without the ministry’s consent, according to El-Wattan newspaper.
“All Awqaf employees should not take part in any [Islamic] jurisprudence or preaching debates on any program, nor address controversial religious topics or issues of public interest through media or social networking channels, without obtaining written consent from the ministry,” the statement said.
“Those who violate this will expose themselves to legal accountability and the ministry’s ethics committee will take the necessary measures,” it added.
Earlier in November, a media regulatory body agreed with Egypt’s Al-Azhar Islamic Institution to create a list of 50 scholars who will solely be ones allowed to issue fatwas on broadcasting outlets.
The media regulator said the step was aimed at curbing “massive chaos” caused by “unusual religious edicts” issued by imams on satellite channels.