Tensions rise between GPC and Islah [Archives:2003/661/Local News]

August 21 2003

Sanaa, August 20 – The latest step taken by the government in the form of removing several mosque preachers throughout the country by the Ministry of Endowment has resulted in major disputes and greater tension between the ruling party GPC and opposition party Islah.
According to Islah sources, the government tends to take over control of all Yemen's mosques and supervise their activities.
This comes after the cabinet discussed a project to be presented to the parliament to organize and monitor the activities of mosques in the country by the Ministry of Endowment, which will be the only authority that could appoint mosque preachers.
Assistant General Secretary of the GPC, Mr. Mohamed Al-Aidaroos had accused the Islah Party for using mosques to market its ideas. “Islah intends to take over control of mosques and use them for their own benefit. The GPC extends its hands to all political powers in the country to fight fundamentalism, which is practiced in some mosques leads to short-sighted radicalism.” he said.
It is worth noting that the April 27 parliamentary elections revealed that mosque preachers had an influential role in bringing more votes to Islah in many areas in the country, especially in Sanaa, in which one of the major Islah candidates and prominent mosque preachers, Hazza' Al-Maswari, won a seat for his religious party.
Analysts believe that the government is implementing a long-term plan to limit the influence of mosque preachers on voters in order to avert the possible influence Islah preachers may have on voters in future elections.