ABU DHABI Ñ The United Arab Emirates has launched an effort to
restrict the activities of Islamic clerics.
"The Friday sermon is considered a source of spiritual and religious
education for the Islamic nation," Islamic Waqf Undersecretary Mohammed
Salim said. "Muslim clerics should stick to the text of the sermon and
should not drag on for a long time, especially in the hot summer hours."
Officials said the UAE will increase supervision on clerics and houses
They said this will include the activities of state-owned mosques and
religious seminaries, Middle East Newsline reported.
The effort was expected to focus on Friday sermons given by Islamic
clerics. Mosque attendance is heaviest on Fridays and sermons have often
contained anti-Western and anti-U.S. messages.
Officials said a government panel plans to provide guidelines for the
content of Friday sermons. They said the effort by the Islamic
Waqf Ministry aims to prevent what they termed extremist
UAE officials and security agencies have long monitored mosque sermons.
But officials acknowledged that enforcement of preventing anti-Western
rhetoric was inadequate over the last few years.
"We want to ensure that the sermon is a contemporary one that
clear Islamic vision based on firm pillars of moderation and
tolerance," Hamdan Bin Musallam Al Mazroui, another Islamic Waqf
Other parts of the program, also drafted by the Justice Ministry, are
meant to bolster the clergy in the UAE. This includes constructing at least
60 mosques and eliminating mosques in mobile homes.
The drive has been termed as a means to moderate the behavior of the
state-supported clergy. One measure would translate Friday sermons in
outdoor areas into several foreign languages, including English and Urdu.
The UAE contains a large Pakistani population.