Officials said they will also monitor the use of loudspeakers installed at places of worship to curb verbal attacks on sects, hate speech and prevent the sentiments of other religions and sects from being hurt
Friday sermons in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad will now be delivered after they have been approved by the administration which will also monitor them.
The administration had initially decided to issue written sermons to mosques and imambargahs in the city. Scholars from various sectors and administrators of places of worship were called for a meeting with the capital administration in this regard, the Dawn reported.
The idea was largely opposed by scholars, administrators and prayer leaders, officials said, as a number of mosques and imambargahs are not supervised by the administration but by the Auqaf department.
However, it was later decided that sermons would only be delivered on matters selected by the administration, which were shared with the scholars and prayer leaders, who agreed.
Officials said that a committee that includes administration and Auqaf officials and scholars from all sects was constituted to devise standard operating procedures after discussing and finalising the matter. Guidelines have been issued to the committee by senior officials in this regard, including 35 topics for the sermons.
Scholars and prayer leaders will select a topic from the list provided and deliver a sermon on it, they explained. They must also get the concerned authority’s approval before delivering the sermon.
The capital administration and the Auqaf department will also monitor the sermons with the assistance of the police’s Special Branch.
Officials said the measure was taken as part of an effort to make a code of conduct for Friday sermons, under the directives of the Islamabad chief commissioner. They added that they will also monitor the use of loudspeakers installed at places of worship to curb verbal attacks on sects, hate speech and prevent the sentiments of other religions and sects from being hurt.
There are 980 mosques and imambargahs in the capital, of which 89 are supervised by the capital administration.