Minister of Endowments warns against politicizing mosques [Archives:2006/968/Local News]

August 31 2006

SANA'A, July 30 ) A few weeks ahead of elections, Minister of Endowments and Guidance Hamoud Ubad warned against manipulating religious discourse for the purpose of gaining political interests.

At an extensive meeting last Saturday in the city of Taiz, 260 kilometers south of Sana'a, Ubad spoke to a host of clerics and mosque preachers from various areas of the province and emphasized that there must be neutrality on the part of mosque imams and sermonizers. Among the attendees was Taiz Governor Ahmed Abdullah Al-Hajri.

“Religious discourse must be balanced. Pulpits should not be politicized and the spirit of national unity should be maintained,” Ubad urged.

He also underscored the importance of religious sermons and the role played by preachers and imams in elevating society's spiritual level and warding off the evils of modern life. Ubad pointed out that preachers should devote their efforts to directing youth to moderatism and help prevent them from committing any devious acts or adopting extremist ideologies.

He urged preachers to keep mosques away from sectarian and partisan fanaticism and to maintain fairness and responsibility. “Mosques are sacred places and for all,” he stated.

This move comes amid fears that other parties, especially the Islamic Islah party, many of whose members are preachers, will utilize mosques to attract citizens and gain public support.