The Ministry of Religious Endowments announced that imams should at least abide by the topic of the unified Friday sermon, as well as by the given time-frame of 15 – 20 minutes.
This indicates a retreat, after the ministry had earlier obliged all imams to recite a unified written sermon during Friday prayers and warned against amending it. The decision triggered a standoff between the ministry and Al-Azhar scholars, as the latter saw the move as a devaluation of their knowledge and restriction on freedom of speech.
The ministry said that it trusts imams will respect the decision and commit to the topic of the sermon at least. It stated that its efforts aim to eliminate religious extremism, deeming it a necessary step in light of the country’s current security situation.
Former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa survived an assassination attempt on 5 August, when a number of assailants opened fire against him. The masked assailants targeted Gomaa while he was walking towards Fadel mosque in 6th of October City to attend the Friday prayers. An exchange of fire between the assailants and Gomaa’s personal security guards resulted in a light leg injury of one of his guards.