Egypt’s Ministry of Social Solidarity released a statement calling on nurseries to stop putting verses from the Quran or the Bible on their entrances. This came after a photo of a nursery gate that had a Quranic verse circulated on social media. The verse was taken out of context and contained grammatical errors.
The Ministry’s statement, which is based on a fatwa from Egypt’s Dar Al Ifta, says that verses may be distorted from their original meaning at times.
Fatwa is an official ruling on a topic in Islam, given by Dar Al Ifta, Egypt’s Islamic advisory institute.
Many social media users commended the ministry’s decision, saying that people often use religious verses in inappropriate contexts, leading to misinterpretation.
“Raising young generations by instilling religious and moral values is extremely important to promote and teach them virtuous principles. Therefore, these values should not come as text that may be taken out of context, but as an educational message that we continue to teach and affirm,” the statement says.
The Ministry’s statement also highlights that the inclusion of religious verses may suggest that this service [nursery] is limited to those following this religion, while “Egypt is a home for everyone.”
The nursery photo that went viral had the Quranic verse “ʾarsilhu maʿanā ghadan yartaʿ wa-yalʿab wa-ʾinnā lahū la-ḥāfiẓūna” (Let him go with us tomorrow so that he may eat lots of fruits and play, and we will indeed take [good] care of him.)
In August, Egypt’s President Abdelfattah Al Sisi called for the renewal of religious discourse in the country, and made remarks on the inclusion of the religion in Egyptian national IDs. Al Sisi’s comments sparked debate among Egyptian public opinion, and were seen as revolutionary to many.
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