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Hours Fasting Around The World

Silencing Sheikhs: New Rules

This Ramadan, the Minister of Religious Endowments has introduced new restrictions on sermons, which include limitations on the topics discussed, as well as the length of sermons.

Muslims across Egypt are facing severe Ramadan restrictions following a government crackdown on so-called 'hate speech' sermons.

The new measures will include a restriction on the topics discussed, along with a sermon time limit. The move follows similar laws introduced in an effort to regulate Friday prayer sermons earlier this year.

Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa said the decision should ensure that sermons during Islam's holy month of fasting "unite people, not divide them."

Gomaa claimed that the religious speech had been "hijacked" for political purposes, in reference to the previous government, led by Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

He added:"The religious speech was politically driven, which affected the moral side. Now we're in a race against time trying to restore morals."

Meanwhile the ministry has also set new rules to regulate a Ramadan tradition - one where many people spend the last ten days of the month inside mosques, praying, fasting and reading the Quran.

The ministry's website said that this year, the stay would be allowed only in central mosques under the supervision of a state-authorized cleric.

The new Ramadan regulations come after a government decision earlier this year to regulate sermons in mosques. The decision stipulated that only preachers appointed by the Ministry of Religious Endowment are allowed to give sermons in mosques, preventing many Salafi preachers from giving sermons, even those with certificates from Al-Azhar.