Preachers’ sermons censored in wake of Middle Eastern conflicts
As tensions continue to rise in the Middle East because of the situations in Egypt and Syria, many religious leaders are being silenced for their opinion on these political climates.
The Egyptian and Syrian governments have been experiencing dramatic changes in their organization and as a result, many people are looking to weigh in on the conflicts. In some parts of the world, like the United States, discussions about these conflicts have been relatively open but in countries closest to the conflict this has not been the case, especially among the region's religious leaders.
Saudi preachers silenced
The violence in Syria has escalated to extremely harmful levels, leading people from all walks of life to want to weigh in on the subject. Additionally, the violence in Egypt has also been the cause of much discussion as religion plays an important role in how people in the country are sueded politically.
In Saudi Arabia, some preachers have seen varying of levels of censorship based on the content of their sermons. Al Bawaba reports that the country suspended 18 preachers last month because they discussed these conflicts in their services. The government requested that preachers not discuss these issues because they did not want their to be any fallout after the polarizing dethroning of the Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The news source explains that two of the preachers were suspended while another had to sign a pledge to not discuss the topics further. Other preachers have been completely dismissed.
Similar practices in Egypt
Egyptian authorities have also banned 55,000 unlicensed preachers in the country who have been preaching against the government overthrow, according to Arab News. The majority of the preachers have been active in unlicensed mosques or other praying areas. While some of the content of the preachings have been what could be considered extreme, others have been relatively moderate.
The actions are alarming for many because they continue to put forth an agenda that silences voices who were against the government overthrow. Morsi was the first democratically elected president of the country, but many feared that once he took office that some of his legislative practices threatened the future of democracy in the country.
The news source reports that over 2,000 activists who sympathize with the Muslim Brotherhood have been detained along with many of the political party's leaders. The silencing of these critics raises concern about the state of democracy in these country's as this points towards a pattern of looking to silence dissenters of the established ruling powers.