Law 16 Paves the Way for Iranian Control over Religious Institutions in Syria

Political and legal activists in Syria raised criticisms against the Syrian government this week, following the passing of a controversial law expanding the authority of the Ministry of Religious Endowments, known locally as Awqaf. The new law, which was ratified by President Bashar al-Assad in mid-September, greatly expands the jurisdiction of the Awqaf Ministry, and grants it absolute authority over religious policy in Syria, and over religious spending. It also authorises the Awqaf to appoint the Grand Mufti of the country, a position previously appointed directly by the President, and institutes several other changes to established religious institutions, such as changing the names and structures of religious councils, and denying non-Syrians the right to practice religious work in Syria. The...
Political and legal activists in Syria raised criticisms against the Syrian government this week, following the passing of a controversial law expanding the authority of the Ministry of Religious Endowments, known locally as Awqaf. The new law, which was ratified by President Bashar al-Assad in mid-September, greatly expands the jurisdiction of the Awqaf Ministry, and grants it absolute authority over religious policy in Syria, and over religious spending. It also authorises the Awqaf to appoint the Grand Mufti of the country, a position previously appointed directly by the President, and institutes several other changes to established religious institutions, such as changing the names and structures of religious councils, and denying non-Syrians the right to practice religious work in Syria. The...