CAIRO Ñ Yemen is reeducating clerics to prevent
their mosques from being used to recruit Al Qaida insurgents.
The Yemeni government has imposed a training course on state-hired
imams, or mosque preachers. So far, 200 imams have registered to begin the
The new Yemeni training course has angered the opposition. The
parliamentary opposition has accused the goverment of seeking to control the
mosques in the country, Middle East Newsline reported.
Yemeni officials said the course by the Islamic Affairs Ministry will
seek to revise sermons given on Friday to the usual large crowds in mosques.
The sermons will eliminate references to jihad, or holy war, against the
West or Israel.
In addition, officials said, imams will voice opposition to Muslim
suicide bombing attacks. They said mosques have often been used by Al Qaida
and related groups to recruit suicide bombers and those for other missions.
The course has been designed by Egypt's Al Azhar seminary, regarded as
the seat of Sunni Islam. Al Azhar has sent a team to Sanaa to teach the
course and train Yemeni personnel to help draft prayer services and other
activities that do not stress extremism.
Officials said the mission by Al Azhar personnel in Sanaa is part of the
security cooperation between Egypt and Yemen. The two countries have
cooperated on such issues as intelligence exchange on Islamic insurgency
groups and joint investigations.
On Tuesday, Yemeni jets pounded an Al Qaida stronghold in the Jouf
mountaineous region east of Sanaa. Yemeni Al Qaida leader Mula Moutaz Al
Qandahari was seriously injured in the attack and an arms depot was
destroyed, the daily Yemeni Al-Balagh said.