Clerics banned from sermons [Archives:2005/815/Local News]

February 10 2005

News Agencies
Yemeni officials have banned 18 clerics from giving sermons in mosques to reduce sources of terrorism.

Deputy Islamic Affairs and Guidance Minister Yahyia al-Najjar issued a Sunday statement saying the decision was part of a government plan that also includes dispatching clerics to advocate awareness on balance, away from extremist and fundamentalist ideas, whether religious or political.

The official added the new plan will complete bringing all mosques and religious guidance centers under government supervision after it had taken control of most of the mosques that had been dominated by extremist political influences in the past years.

Al-Najjar said the plan included providing training to spiritual guides and clerics that focused on correcting the wrong ideas in religious Islamic texts.

A survey showed last year that the ministry supervised only 6,000 of 72,000 mosques, raising government concerns that clerics would continue to politicize religion and preach extremist beliefs.