World Bulletin/News Desk
The Egyptian authorities have reopened a prominent mosque in central Cairo that had been the scene of fierce confrontations last year between security forces and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
The Al-Fath Mosque was closed on August 17 of last year following the eviction of dozens of pro-Morsi activists and reporters who had been holed up inside after a night of deadly violence outside the building that left at least 210 people dead. Numerous pro-Morsi activists were arrested.
"The reopening [of the mosque] came following the completion of renovations," Sayed Aboud, undersecretary at the Religious Endowments Ministry (Awqaf), told Anadolu Agency.
The move came as a surprise, as no prior announcement had been made by the government ahead of the reopening.
"The reopening took place at the nighttime prayers [Isha] on Monday and was attended by ministry officials and some worshippers," he added.
Asked if the ministry was concerned that the mosque might again be occupied by pro-Morsi activists, Aboud said: "The ministry fears no one; all of Egypt's mosques are under control."
On August 16 of last year, clashes erupted outside the mosque – which is located in Cairo's Ramses Square – between security forces and protesters.
The latter were angered by the killing two days earlier of hundreds of Morsi supporters during the violent dispersal of two major protest sites in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square and Giza's Nahda Square.
Dozens of protesters took refuge from the violence inside the nearby Al-Fath Mosque, where they remained holed up before finally being rounded up by security forces.
Prosecutors accused 494 detained protesters of "defiling" the mosque, "premeditated murder" and "attempted murder for terrorist purposes."
The detained demonstrators deny the charges, accusing police of arresting them indiscriminately. Their trial is set to begin later this year.
Asked whether the Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque, which overlooks the square of the same name, would soon reopen as well, Aboud said the decision was up to Religious Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa and the ministry's top officials.Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Ekim 2014, 13:53