Egypt: First women preachers named

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For the first time in Egypt's history, various governorates have named women as "Murshidat", religious guides and preachers.
The announcement was made by the religious affairs minister Hamdi Zaqzouq during a visit to a mosque in Qena, in southern Egypt.
"The reforms in the religious sector are free from outside pressures" the minister emphasised "and depend exclusively on the Egyptian authorities who carry out (reforms) in line with the precepts of the Koran and of Sharia law."

The naming of women as preachers, to give lessons on Islam, lead the faithful and fulfil the role of imam in the female sectors of the mosques, is completely new in Egypt. However it is not the first in the Arab world. Sevral months ago Morocco's religious authorities named 50 Murshidat.

The pioneer group underwent a 12 month course of training so they could "accompany and orient" the Muslim faithful. They have been deployed in particular to work with women and children in slum areas, where extremists are seeking leverage, in prisons hospitals and schools.

07-Dec-06 15:34