Egypt to ‘Purge and Confiscate’ at Mosque Libraries

Egyptian authorities made statements Monday and Tuesday, saying that they are planning to remove books that “incite extremism” from mosques:

The Ministry of Religious Endowments said, in a Monday statement, that it plans to remove all books that incite extremism from mosque libraries.

Also, no new books can be added to mosque libraries without approval from the ministry.

Egypt’s Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said in the Monday statement that mosques must provide a list of their library’s contents for inspection.

Anadolu Agency further reported that “Egyptian Ministry Undersecretary Gaber Tayee said ministry officials have been instructed to check all books in mosque libraries to make sure ‘they fit with Islam’s tolerance.'”

Government officials denied that they were planning to burn books, the Cairo Post reported. The books would instead be removed from libraries and warehoused.

Ashraf Fahmy, an official in the ministry, told Daily News Egypt that this new policy means the government will go from mosque library to mosque library “in order to purge them of books that call for fundamentalism and extremism, and call for the opposite of moderate Islam.”

After that, Fahmy told DNE, “a committee will examine the books in every city to evaluate and remove them.” He said that any book found transgressing these vague guidelines “irrespective of its author or publishing house, that contradicts the teachings of Islam, will be confiscated.”

The Anadolu Agency report said that authorities had suggested they’d be looking for particular books, including texts by former Brotherhood leader Sayyid Qutb and television personality and scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, also associated with the MB.

Qutb’s memoir, A Child from the Village, has been translated to English and published by AUC Press, although it’s out of print in Arabic.

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