Egyptian authorities will bar 55,000 unlicensed clerics from preaching in mosques in the latest move against sympathizers of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, the minister of religious endowments said on Tuesday.

Ministry revokes licenses for thousands of imams
Egyptian authorities will bar 55,000 unlicensed clerics from preaching in mosques in the latest move against sympathizers of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, the minister of religious endowments said on Tuesday. The ban will mainly target small unlicensed mosques or random praying areas. The idea is to spread a moderate message of Islam and keep Egyptians away from radical ideas. Imams would now have to submit a request to the ministry to renew their licenses, accompanied by copies of degrees obtained from Al-Azhar or another ministry-affiliated institute, the minister said, in order to clamp down on unqualified imams delivering political sermons inciting violence. Imams with degrees from institutes not recognized by the Endowments Ministry would not have their licenses renewed. [Reuters, Mada Masr, 9/10/2013]

Haddad: No alternative to “full constitutional legitimacy”
Brotherhood spokesperson Gehad al-Haddad and Freedom and Justice Party Vice Chairman Essam al-Erian both expressed rejection of the coup in statements. Gehad al-Haddad said “We will remain steadfast in the squares until the people regain their revolution” while Essam al-Erian urged people to be patient in statements Sunday night. Haddad added that three conditions must be met for the restoration of legitimacy, the return of ousted President Mohamed Morsi to the presidency, with the full powers “entrusted to him by the people,” the reinstatement of the now dissolved upper house of parliament, the Shura Council and the return of the constitution. [DNE, 9/9/2013]

Justice Ministry grants Petroleum Authority powers of arrest
Justice Minister Adel Abdel Hamid on Monday granted the president of the Petroleum Authority and his aides the legal power of arrest in order to tighten control of gas stations and reduce smuggling of diesel and gasoline. Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail said he had not yet received the Justice Ministry’s decision, “but we are coordinating with the Ministry of Supply to control the fuel market from the stage of pumping the product until it arrives to the consumer,” he said, expecting an increased supply of petroleum products in the market. But some in the industry are wary of the decision. Hossam Arafat, head of the General Division of Petroleum Products at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, told the private news website Sada al-Balad that he finds the move “impractical and unclear.” [Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, 9/9/2013]

Also of Interest:
Committee to Protect the Democratic Path to hold first meeting | DNE, EGYNews, (Arabic)
No electoral system can exclude Islamists: Wafd Party | Ahram Online 


Military court to try eight pro-Morsi leaders on September 17
The military court in Suez on Tuesday set September 17 for the trial of eight leaders from the Jama’a al-Islamiya and the Muslim Brotherhood on charges of assaulting army forces in Suez, burning army vehicles and inciting two church burnings on August 14. Those on trial include Ahmed al-Shazly, a member of the administrative office of the Brotherhood, Kamel Teleiba, a Salafi leader, and Fawzy al-Kordy, a leader from the Jama’a al-Islamiya. On Tuesday, the criminal court in Suez gave sixty-three Morsi supporters varying prison sentences. Twelve were acquitted, one was sentenced to life, three were given fifteen years of rigorous imprisonment and forty-eight were handed prison sentences ranging from five to ten years.  Meanwhile, additional arrest warrants were issued for Brotherhood leader Essam al-Erian and former minister Bassem Ouda on charges related to violence in Qalyubeya.  [Egypt Independent, Ahram (Arabic), EGYNews (Arabic), 9/10/2013]

Debates as committee starts work on Egypt’s new constitution
The committee entrusted with writing the final draft of Egypt’s post-Morsi constitution started work on Monday. The first meeting of the fifty member body was devoted to endorsing the committee’s internal bylaws. Amr Moussa, a liberal politician who was voted the committee’s chairman, got the approval of the majority of members for five sub-committees be formed to discuss different items – government, rights and freedoms, basic components, national dialogue, and the final constitution-drafting sub-committees. The committee’s first meeting devolved into an argument as to whether the body would simply amend the constitution ratified under former President Mohamed Morsi, or draft a new one. Abdallah al-Naggar, one of Al-Azhar representatives on the fifty member constitutional amendment committee, said Egypt’s Islamic identity will not suffer during the rewriting process. Meanwhile, the Nour Party’s Shaaban Abdel Alim said that removing the word ‘principles’ from Article 2 would put an end to the debate over identity, and in return the party would not object to removing Article 219. Rights activists, among them Saad Eddin Ibrahim have called for guarantees safeguarding women and Copt’s rights within the constitution and parliament, with suggestions for a 15 percent quota for Copts and 30 percent for women in parliament. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya, SIS, 9/10/2013]

Also of interest:
Court case to withdraw Morsi’s citizenship referred to Administrative Court’s Commissioner’s Body | EGYNews (Arabic)
Helbawi does not represent Islamists: Nour Party | Ahram Online
Karam Saber blasphemy trial postponed to October 22 | AMAY (Arabic)
Aboul-Fotouh warns against removal of military neutrality from Egypt constitution | Ahram Online
Military representative in constitutional committee says many don’t have an understanding of military trials | EGYNews (Arabic)
Salmawy: We expect extensive modifications of the 2012 constitution | Ahram (Arabic)


Qatar agrees to convert $2 bn into Egypt bonds: Reports
The Qatari government has agreed to convert the $2 billion it had deposited in the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) into bonds, CBE governor Hisham Ramez reportedly said on Monday. The funds would be converted into bonds in a week’s time, several Egyptian newspapers and evening talk shows reported. [Ahram Online, 9/92013]

Also of Interest:
Manufacturers discuss ‘stimulus’ with planning ministry | DNE
Debt paralyses coal production | DNE
EGX indexes collectively up | SIS
Planning Minister: Conformity between workers, investors necessary for applying wages minimum | SIS
CAPMAS: Meat, vegetable prices push inflation up by 0.7 percent | Egypt Independent
Egypt slides in World Bank competitiveness rankings | DNE
Saudi investors invited for lucrative Egyptian ventures |  Arab News


Morsi loyalists call for double evening protests
The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Anti-Coup Youth group called for a Tuesday evening protest in Downtown Cairo’s Talaat Harb Square against the removal of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. According to Ahram Online’s reporter, extensive police special and central security forces are being additionally deployed around the vicinity of Talaat Harb Square. The movement also announced plans for fifteen women’s marches starting from mosques in Cairo and Giza to Mohandessin, Talaat Harb Square and Hegaz Square. The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy also called for demonstrations on Tuesday under the banner “Support the Dignity and Freedom of Egyptian Women” in protest of what it calls anti-women policies by the interim government. The Brotherhood without Violence movement announced it would not be participating in any of the protests. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram (Arabic), 9/10/2013]

Amnesty decries ‘extreme political violence’ in Egypt
Amnesty International called on Tuesday for an independent investigation into killings by Egyptian security forces as well as torture and violations of the rights to free speech and assembly. The military’s overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in July after mass protests against him unleashed an “extreme level of political violence”, the London-based group told the United Nations Human Rights Council. “Between 14 and 18 August, at least 1,089 people were killed, many due to the use of excessive, grossly disproportionate and unwarranted lethal force by security forces,” said Peter Splinter, Amnesty representative in Geneva. Egyptian security forces have also failed to prevent or end a wave of sectarian attacks targeting Coptic Christians, he said. [Reuters, AMAY (Arabic), 9/10/2013]

Also of Interest:
Protest in Cairo demands release of Sinai-based journalist | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
Students briefly detained in Alexandria | DNE
Egyptian observer speaks at the Human Rights Council | DNE
Muslim Brotherhood in Beni Sueif cancels its charity activities | Shorouk (Arabic)


Egypt tightens Sinai security, assesses militant threat
Egypt has tightened control of crossings from the Sinai peninsula and continued assaults on militants after an Islamist group based there said it tried to kill the interior minister in Cairo last week, the state news agency reported on Monday. Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim affirmed that he issued directives to tighten security measures on all border crossings in Sinai in conjunction with the large-scale operation launched by the Armed Forces and the police in North Sinai targeting the strongholds of armed groups. An Egyptian military official says army troops, backed by helicopter gunships, attacked hideouts of Islamic militants in Sina. Nine militias were killed and ten were arrested in confrontations with security forces in North Sinai late on Monday, a security source told Aswat Masriya. The security operation included al-Mahdeya area, Nagaa Shabana and Gooz Abu Raad. Meanwhile, an Egyptian soldier was killed and two security officers injured in an attack on a military checkpoint in Egypt’s North Sinai, state news agency MENA reported. Unknown assailants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an armored vehicle stationed at the checkpoint on a road leading to Al-Arish international airport on Monday. [Reuters, AP, Ahram Online, SIS, Aswat Masriya, EGYNews (Arabic), 9/10/2013]

Tamarod founder hijacked, robbed; Fifteen suspects arrested
Tamarod founder and Constituent Assembly member, Mahmoud Badr, was hijacked and robbed on Monday in Shebeen al-Kanater outside Cairo while returning from a meeting at the Shura Council building. Mai Wahba, spokeswoman for Tamarod, said that the robbery was not politically motivated. Wahba denied reports that the incident was an assassination attempt, and said that Badr was unharmed. Authorities also denied that the attack was political. Egyptian authorities arrested fifteen people suspected of attacking Badr. [DNE, Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic), Aswat Masriya, SIS, Mada Masr, 9/10/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt arrests 139 suspects for Kerdassa police murder | Aswat Masriya
Egypt arrests thirty-five suspects for attacks on churches and police stations in Minya | EGYNews (Arabic)
Nine civilians, one soldier injured in Arish clashes | Egypt Independent


Turkish opposition party visits Cairo, seeks better relations
Turkey’s main opposition party sent a delegation to Egypt on Monday for a three-day visit, in the midst of deteriorating relations between the two countries. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) chairman Faruk Logoglu and deputy head Osman Koruturk are both part of the delegation. His party issued a statement on Wednesday saying that good relations between the two nations were essential to foster peace, stability and development in the region. However, the delegation would not meet with Armed Forces chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as the party does consider the events of July 3 to be a coup, Logoglu said. At the same time, the party is not taking Morsi’s side, but sides only with the Egyptian people, he declared.  [Mada Masr, EGYNews (Arabic), 9/9/2013]

Also of Interest:
Fahmy to travel to Russia | DNE
French FM: We encourage national dialogue allowing competition of transition | SIS
Foreign Ministry: Three countries among 180 look at what happened on June 30 as a military coup | SIS
European Parliament to discuss the situation in Egypt and Syria tomorrow |  Shorouk (Arabic)