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Egyptian imams are pushing back against a recent move by the military-installed government to control the theme of weekly Friday sermons calling the last move to curb Islamist dissent nakedly political.At the end of January, the Religious Endowments Ministry, which has nearly 120,000 mosques on its list, decided to unify the Friday sermon by setting a common theme for the weekly prayers, but not all of the imams have cooperated.These places of worship are "channels through which public opinion is formed," particularly in Upper Egypt and the Nile Delta, both rural areas, he said.And the control of mosques is vital for Islamists to air their views since the authorities have shut down many of their television stations, Fahmy added.Each week's theme is published on the ministry's website and also passed on to imams by the ministry's offices in Egypt's 27 provinces, said Mohammad Abdul-Salam Badr, imam of a northern Cairo mosque.The authorities accuse Islamist groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, of using mosques to spread their ideology and enroll new recruits across Egypt.
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