Cairo: A senior official in Egypt’s Islamic affairs ministry has been sacked after he made controversial remarks suggesting the reopening of mosques in the country in the holy month of Ramadan for the nightly Taraweeh prayer.
The Ministry of Awqaf, which is in charge of mosques in Egypt, announced late Sunday that Ahmad Al Qadi had been relieved of his duties as the ministry’s spokesman for making “ill-studied statements”.
Al Qadi earlier said in TV remarks that the ministry was studying the idea of reopening mosques for imams only to perform the Taraweeh and broadcast the prayer during Ramadan.
His remarks were soon dismissed by the Minister of Awqaf Mohammad Jumaa as “non-represenative” of the ministry.
“His remarks collided with the ministry’s established stance on suspending congregation prayers and the non-opening of mosques altogether until the reason that prompted their closure ends whether in Ramadan or other months,” Jumaa said in a statement.
“It is against religion, wisdom and logic to protect people’s lives in Shaaban and not to do the same in Ramadan,” he added.
Last month, Egypt’s Islamic authorities closed mosques nationwide for daily and weekly group prayers as part of efforts to halt the spread of the new coronavirus in the country of about 100 million people.
The Ministry of Awqaf later ruled out the reopening of mosques any time soon. The ministry has said that reopening the mosques hinges on the end of the virus threat and health authorities’ confirmation that there is no health risk any more from mass gatherings.
Ramadan is normally characterised by congregations in mosques for worshipping including the Taraweeh prayer.
In the run-up to Ramadan, many Egyptians turned to social media, voicing fervent hopes that the mosques will reopen so that they will perform the Taraweeh there.