World Bulletin / News Desk
Egypt's Ministry of Religious Endowments (Awqaf) has excluded both Turkey and Qatar from its annual Qur'an memorization competition, slated to kick off next month in Cairo.
"Turkey and Qatar were excluded from the competition due to their political stances on Egypt," Awqaf Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa told reporters on Friday.
According to the ministry, participants from 40 countries are expected to participate in the event, due to begin on April 5.
The competition, one of the oldest and most prestigious of its kind, has been suspended for the last two years due to political turmoil that has gripped Egypt since the fall of long-serving autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Relations between Egypt and Turkey have deteriorated since last summer's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian army.
Last November, Egypt downgraded its diplomatic relations with Turkey to the level of charge d'affaires and recalled its ambassador from Ankara.
Turkey responded shortly afterward by pulling its ambassador from Cairo.
Ties between Egypt and Qatar have also worsened since Morsi's overthrow, with Cairo accusing Doha of interfering in Egypt's internal affairs. Doha, for its part, categorically rejects the allegation.Last Mod: 29 Mart 2014, 09:16