Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Houthis Seek to Politicize Mosque Sermons | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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People perform the Alasr prayers during the holy month of Ramadan at a mosque in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, Yemen, June 24, 2016. (Photo by Mohamed al-Sayaghi/Reuters)

Jeddah-Houthis have launched a campaign to politicize religious sermons in areas that fall under their control. They also began forcing mosque preachers to announce loyalty to the rebels, which compelled most supporters of the legitimate government to refrain from attending Friday prayers and most preachers to abandon their tasks and return to their villages.

Religious, legal, and social sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that many mosque imams were threatened and forced to “instigate hatred and encourage violence against legitimacy supporters.”

The sources also said that imams were told to issue a Fatwa that calls for jihad against coalition forces, which are trying to free Yemen from the followers of Wilayat al-Faqih of Iran.

The sources, speaking to Asharq al-Awsat from Sana’a via telephone, said that some imams and preachers were arrested for not obeying the rules issued by former President Ali Abdallah Saleh and Houthis leaders.

According to the sources, many worshippers abstained from attending the mosques that complied with the new rules.

Minister of Endowments and Religious Guidance Ahmed Attiyyah vowed to implement a program that focuses more on the guidance speech and distances politics from mosques.

Attiyyah revealed that the new agenda of the ministry also focuses on reviving the role of mosques in reciting the Qoran and promoting values like tolerance and mercifulness.

The minister stressed that mosques should not be linked to political and sectarian struggles and commit to their role in spreading the values of Islam.

He concluded that religious sermons should be used to unite the people and reject hatred, violence, and grudges among Muslims.