Egypt forces Muslim clerics to read state-approved sermons
Egypt has launched a programme to make Muslim clerics read a standardised government-written sermon at Friday prayers.
The minister for religious endowments, Mokhtar Gomaa, gave the first such set sermon at Cairo's Amr ibn al-As Mosque. The sermon against corruption was entitled Bad Money Is A Lethal Poison.
Over the past three years, the ministry gave clerics outlines of subjects for their sermons during weekly communal prayers. Now a committee of state-hired scholars will write each week's sermon for clerics to read word-for-word.
Mr Gomaa defended the move as aimed at filtering out extremism and promoting reform. However, critics say it is a new move by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's to stifle freedom of expression.