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Egypt: Imam suspended for singing song in religious clothing

13 October 2017
The Egyptian ministry responsible for religious endowments suspended an imam due to him singing a song on a TV talk show while wearing religious clothing.
Photo: YouTube screenshot of Sheikh Al-Azhari Ihab Yunus’ TV performance

 

On 23 September 2017, the Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf, the ministry responsible for religious endowments, suspended Sheikh Al-Azhari Ihab Yunus from his work as an imam due to him singing a song on a TV talk show while wearing religious clothing, which is forbidden by the ministry and Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s most prestigious university, reported Arab News.

The ministry explained in a statement that the performance is “contrary to the nature of the work of an imam and the requirements of his duty”, which is why the imam was suspended from being able to deliver sermons or give religious lessons, reported Arabic CNN.

“People in the Islamic world associate the Azhari dress with uniforms of religious scholars and students, thus it should not be worn when singing or performing any type of art, even if it is purposeful and upscale,” Al-Azhar University representatives said.

Yunus sang “Lesa Faker” (Do You Still Remember) by Oum Kalthoum on an Egyptian talk show on ONTV on 18 September 2017, which also drew ire via social media, eventually leading the ministry to take notice.

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