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Egypt focused on renewing religious discourse under Sisi's directives: Religious Endowments minister
Published in Ahram Online on 08 - 08 - 2021

Egypt's Religious Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa underlined that the ministry has focused on renewing religious discourse and spreading moderate thought in line with the directives of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
These remarks came on Sunday in an interview with Board Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the Middle East News Agency Ali Hassan.
He said Egypt — under the leadership of El-Sisi — has strongly restored its position in the field of religious affairs at the international level, referring to the international conferences and meetings organised by the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs as well as Egypt's participation in events abroad.
He noted that the Egyptian University of Islamic Culture in Kazakhstan ranked number 1 among all Kazakh universities for religious studies.
Gomaa added that the Egyptian cultural centre in Tanzania — which is affiliated with the Ministry of Religious Endowments — was also upgraded.
He noted that nine international conferences and six international contests were held to promote Egypt's pioneering role in disseminating moderate religious discourse.
He added that 3,621 scholarships were secured for students from various countries.
Gomaa also said that the ministry printed, translated, and distributed 260 new books among embassies, international forums, universities, and foreign reporters. The books focused on means of ditching extremist thought and nurturing minds to understand the Quran as well as the sayings and teachings of Prophet Muhammad.
He added that the ministry also worked on teaching these books to imams and training them.
He noted that the ministry is implementing a training programme — which is the first of its kind — titled 'The Thinking Imam' which aims to improve the preaching and research thought of imams.
Gomaa added that the ministry is also applying several high-level training programmes under national partnerships with the aim to have a generation of imams who can have a say in explaining the upright teachings of Islam.
He said the ministry has an international training vision and is collaborating with other Arab and sisterly countries to implement joint-training programs, referring to training Sudanese preachers.
He added that the social and financial conditions of imams and those working at the ministry were improved in accordance with the directives of President El-Sisi.
Meanwhile, he thanked El-Sisi for giving his due attention to mosques, especially historical ones.
He noted that the ministry has established 1,500 new mosques since August 2020 with a budget of EGP 3 billion in addition to renovating 200 mosques.
The ministry has also managed to increase the revenues of the Egyptian Endowments Authority to reach EGP 1.8 billion in FY2020-2021, a marked increase from the EGP 629.634 million in FY2014-2015.
As for the 'Sacrifice Vouchers Project' (Adahi Sukuk), he noted that a sum of EGP 142 million was collected from the sukuk, thus upping the number of beneficiaries of this project to 1.450 million families.
He added that the ministry has also spent about EGP 1.781 billion in the service of Egyptian society.
The ministry also contributed EGP 100 million to the 'Decent Housing Initiative' under a cooperation protocol with the Ministry of Social Solidarity.
He added that the ministry allocated EGP 50 million to supporting irregular workers and EGP 60 million for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
Additionally, the ministry earmarked EGP 30 million for furnishing 1,000 apartments for needy families, EGP 20 million for the 'Noor Hayat Initiative', EGP 20 million for the 'Charitable Investment Fund for Supporting Disabled People', EGP 32.609 million for building 100 homes in the Red Sea governorates in tandem with the Ministry of Housing, and EGP 16.300 million for renovating 270 homes in North Sinai.
He added that the ministry allocated EGP 25 million for issuing Aman insurance certificates for female breadwinners in collaboration with the National Council for Women.
The ministry also contributed EGP 50 million to the 'Ataa Charitable Fund for People with Disabilities', along with EGP 108 million in the field of health care.
The minister also underlined the importance of promoting various state institutions.

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