CAIRO: A video of a man wearing Al-Azhar University’s uniform being chased by police was posted by social media users in Egypt on Sunday.
The man had been reportedly leading Eid congregational prayers in violation of anti-coronavirus measures that prevent gatherings. The video also shows a person laughing and saying: “Run sheikh.”
The man had agreed to lead prayers in the open yard of a mosque in the city of Nabaroh, north of Cairo, according to a resident.
He said people had gathered and started praying but, as soon as they heard police sirens, the man leading the prayer and the congregation started to disperse fearing arrest.
Sheikh Taha Zeyada, secretary of the Egyptian Ministry of Endowments, told Arab News that the security directorate had not received any report about the incident.
He said the directorate had not told any mosque to hold Eid congregational prayers, complying with measures taken to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease. The investigation into the incident was the responsibility of the executive and security bodies, he added, and all the mosques in the governorate had adhered to the Cabinet’s decision about Eid prayers.
Security officials confirmed that the prayer leader was not arrested as he ran away.
A source in the ministry said that the congregation was not in a mosque and that the man in the Al-Azhar uniform had been identified as Mahmoud, an Al-Azhar high school student.
The ministry had already canceled Eid Al-Fitr prayers in mosque grounds. It also decided to broadcast the prayer from Al-Sayeda Nafisa mosque. It named 20 people to attend the prayer and the sermon was delivered by Sheikh Yousry Azzam, one of the ministry’s imams.
The ministry also issued rules and regulation regarding Eid Al-Fitr and operating microphones or loudspeakers in mosques.
According to the rules, prayer leaders were to be present in mosques from dawn until the end of the Eid prayer broadcast.