Cairo- Egyptian authorities stepped up security on Tuesday, closing down the Al-Hussein Mosque, located in Old Cairo. The mosque will be reopened on Thursday to avoid possible tensions between Shi’ites and Salafists.
“Sectarian religious practices will not be allowed on Ashoura or any other day,” a statement by the Ministry of Religious Endowments said on Tuesday, warning that sectarian rallies are banned under the law.
Shi’ite Muslims are feared to take the site to stage sectarian rituals to commemorate the day of Ashoura.
The Ministry of Religious Endowments decided on the close. The mosque will, however, be open for prayer for the concise and strict duration of 30 min after each call for prayer (Islamic Athan.)
In the past few years, Egyptian authorities have closed Al-Hussein Mosque on the day of Ashoura for fear of sectarian tensions.
There are no official figures concerning the number of Shi’ites in Egypt.
The authorities in Egypt raised the bar on security measures for the upcoming days, to ward off any possible clashes between Salafists, Shi’ites, and Sufis during the cultural celebrations.