Ministry nod to hold religious lectures a must

By Fahad Al Ghadani — MUSCAT: Jan. 4: The next time you organise a religious lecture, make sure you have the approval from the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs. The ministry sent out the reminder recently through a tweet. “The ministry has recorded instances in which a speaker is invited to present a religious lecture, but it turns out he would speak about a religious sect. This is not acceptable,” said a source at the ministry. He said obtaining prior approval for organising such a lecture is mandatory. Those violating rules will have to face legal consequences. “The rule applies not only for international speakers, but also for the local ones,” the source said.
The decision is expected to enable the ministry to regulate the issues discussed in public on the topic (religion). “The ministry wants to ensure the speeches do not cross the red line. Public lectures should be to educate public on religion, not to spread it,” said the ministry source.
He said the ministry has recorded instances when speakers have attacked other countries. “No one is permitted to cross the limits,” said the ministry source.
If the ministry notices any violation, then such a speaker will not be allowed to speak at any events in the Sultanate in future. “Not only that, those concerned with organising such events will also face legal action.”
Speakers, especially those from outside the country, shall be approved by the ministry to make sure the speaker is capable of presenting a good and useful lecture.
“There are some names on the international blacklist. The ministry should know the names of speakers so that blacklisted speakers are not invited,” according to the source.
“We sometimes send a representative from the ministry to attend public lectures. It’s part of its efforts to ensure everything is under control,” said the source.
Meanwhile, the ministry’s tweet was welcomed by the public. Retweets indicated the organisers will not only present names of speakers to the ministry, but also the topic of the lecture and the points the speaker will address in his lecture.