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Friday, 15 November 2019

Egypt court bans demolition of churches

The court based its ruling on a previous ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court that equated the legal status of churches to that of mosques

Zeinab El-Gundy , Monday 28 Mar 2016
Saint George Church
A file photo for Saint George Church in Old Cairo (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
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An Alexandria administrative court stopped on Monday an order to demolish a Church in Beheira governorate and banned the demolition of churches in Egypt.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Rashid had sold a piece of land two decades ago that included small shops and a church.

The new owner later decided to demolish the church, claiming it was abandoned, but the Coptic Orthodox Church intervened to challenge the demolition and entered a legal dispute to stop the order for another decade.

"The Coptic Orthodox Church has already offered to buy this church in Rashid," Mounir Sami, the legal adviser of the Greek Patriarchate in Cairo, told Ahram Online.

Sami said that the sale of the church by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate was legally invalid.

"Legally this church is considered of public benefit and should not be demolished or treated like [a common shop]," said Sami.

The administrative court stated in its ruling that churches cannot be demolished or used for anything other than worship.

It also added that the Greek Orthodox Church's decision to sell the church for the purpose of demolition was "against public order."

The court based its ruling on a previous ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court that equated the legal status of churches to that of mosques.

Churches, like mosques, "are houses of worship that, once used for prayer, are no longer owned by people but are owned by God," the court stated in its ruling 12 years ago.

The court consulted with Al-Azhar – the foremost religious authority in the Sunni Muslim world – regarding the status of churches under Islamic law.

Al-Azhar stated that non-Muslims living in majority Muslim lands had a right to protect their places of worship, therefore churches are not to be demolished and are to be rebuilt if they are.

Pope Tawdros II used the opinion of Al-Azhar to argue his case.

The principles of Islamic Sharia are the main source of legislation according to the second article of the 2014 Egyptian constitution.

The administrative court also demanded that parliament as the main legislating power in Egypt draft a long-awaited law on the building of houses of worship, which many believe would solve numerous problems related to the status of churches in the country.

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Bibo
31-03-2016 09:56pm
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Faith in Humanity.
What can I say WOW... I have lots of respect from the Egyptian court and people who refused for the Church to be demolish. I believe that if this continue that we protect each other. The barriers will be taken down and only love and respect for each other will prevail. I'm a Christian and I love my friends from different religions, muslim, hindus, buddhist. We may have different faith and beliefs but we are all created by GOD and we are called HUMAN.
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Taz
28-03-2016 10:01pm
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Good move from the Egyptian courts
and it should not stop there. There is still the need for legal equality for Mosques and Churches as well as among all Egyptians regardless of their faith. Call it "game against Islam" or call El-Sisi a "Manchurion/sleeper Christian" or call it whatever you want to call it, is is only the right thing and it is long overdue
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zahidani
28-03-2016 05:41pm
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public of Egypt should understand court
court of egypt a bigest weapon of non muslims court playing a very dangerous game against islam and Egyptian now where is al azhar bull shit grand mufti ? that mufti supporter of Enemies
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marten
28-03-2016 05:33pm
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very soon sisi will change his religion
we hope sisi will be convert to christanity what he doing for us we realy appreciate sisi work he is inside a good christan but he must show to Egyptian his faith don,t be afraid west and usa behind of him
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