The Endowments Ministry will begin translating Friday sermons into English and other foreign languages, the ministry declared in an official statement on Monday.
The translation process will utilize imams who hold master’s and doctorate degrees in foreign languages, according to the ministry.
In press remarks, Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said that the ministry is attempting to meet the needs of international Islamic organizations who demand the expertise and resources offered by the ministry’s imams and Azhar scholars. “This will happen either through sending qualified imams abroad or using new communication techniques, with the aim of spreading the real image of Islam and confronting extremist ideologies,” he said. He added that the ministry will mostly depend on young imams and scholars.
Since he was appointed as minister in 2013, Gomaa has spearheaded a campaign to curb the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood within the ministry and in Egypt’s religious domain in general. He has designed a series of policies to tighten the state’s grip on religious discourse in Egypt.
The ministry decided to unify the topic of Friday sermons across the country last year. Gomaa said that the move aims to keep mosques away from partisan and political conflicts. Since then, the ministry announces the topic of the sermon every week and publishes a brief text with main points of discussion that imams can use during sermons.
The process of choosing imams itself has come under the ministry’s strict policies. Immediately after his appointment, Gomaa decided to revoke the licenses of 55,000 imams and ban Friday sermons in mosques smaller than 80 meters. Many of the fired imams were widely believed to belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, while small mosques, especially in villages and deserted areas, were the biggest strongholds of the ousted Islamist group.