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‘Mosque imams in Makkah should be Saudi’

The office of the Ministry of Islamic and Endowment Affairs in Makkah has barred non-Saudis from being imams and muezzins.

By Jassim Abuzaid / 24 Apr 2013

The office of the Ministry of Islamic and Endowment Affairs in Makkah has barred non-Saudis from being imams and muezzins.

 Abdullah Al-Nasser, head of the ministry’s office in Makkah, said there will be no exception to the ruling, a local newspaper reported.

 The statement came in response to the question as to whether the Burmese minority in Makkah can be excluded from the decision, such as in the ministry of labor’s Nitaqat program. “Our instructions are clear and they are not related to other government department decisions. The decision of the Ministry of Labor to consider one Burmese worker as a quarter of a point in the Nitaqat system can be used in the labor market but not in houses of worship,” he said.

 Maximum punishment will be applied to those violating instructions, he said.

 He stressed that his administration will continuously monitor all the mosques in the holy city to reduce errors committed by imams and muezzins.

 He stressed that field inspectors have the authority to make decisions and to apply penalties on violators.

 The campaign, however, was negatively received in social media outlets.

 Other sarcastic comments have been made suggesting non-Saudis should not pray behind Saudi Imams.

 They found Al-Nasser’s statements to be contradictory to earlier advice given to imams and Jum’ah preachers to comply with the guidance of Prophet Mohammad to avoid discussing issues that cause confusion or hatred among Muslims.

 

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