Egyptian authorities have banned books linked to the Muslim Brotherhood from mosques across the country, as the ministry of endowments seeks to remove all those already there “within days”.
Egyptian Minister of Endowments Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa announced in an urgent statement that a committee will be formed to “re-examine” mosque libraries and the publications held there, in a bid to remove all that “adopt an extremist ideology” or “belong to extremist groups”.
“Any book authored by a Salafist or a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or Gamaa Islamiya will be removed,” Ministry Undersecretary Gaber Tayee said.
Mosque imams will also be required to pledge to refuse any such publications from being kept in their mosque libraries, a ministry statement said.
Any individuals who “neglect orders” will face punishment, the statement added.
Hisham Abdel Azizi, an official in the ministry of endowments, also released a statement urging all mosques and Islamic centres to urgently re-examine the materials they hold, urging them to “purify” libraries from publications linked to the Muslim Brotherhood “within the next 15 days”.
Anyone ignoring these directives will face disciplinary action, the statement warned.
Since the military overthrow in July 2013 of Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, the regime of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has engaged in the systematic repression of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Morsi was a member.
It has done so by implementing policies commonly regarded as effective means of “decapitating” hierarchical organisations, particularly those with a significant ability to mobilise grassroots support and generate public sympathy.
Within months of the coup against the now-deceased Morsi, the Egyptian military took several measures to undermine the Muslim Brotherhood – arresting thousands of members, banning it in September 2013, and declaring it a terrorist organisation in December that same year.
The Muslim Brotherhood rejects the allegations, maintaining that it is committed to peaceful activism.