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Egypt's Sisi orders building of church in new Ahalina 2 city

Ahram Online , Saturday 15 Dec 2018
El-Sisi
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi along with Egyptian ministers at a presentation on a newly constructed city Al-Salam on Saturday December 15, 2018 (Photo: Courtesy of Egyptian Presidential Spokesperson)
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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ordered on Saturday the establishment of a church in the new city of "Ahalina 2" in El-Salam city on the outskirts of Cairo.

On Saturday, El-Sisi inspected the sites of a number of national projects including a wastewater treatment plant in Qalioubiya and several housing projects aimed at combating informal settlements.

El-Sisi's comments were directed to Major General Emad Ahmed El-Ghazali, the Commander of the Central Military Region who was giving a presentation on the landscape of the newly constructed city.

During the presentation, El-Sisi asked El-Ghazali whether there were any further plans to build another church in Ahalina 1, to which he answered: "No".

"This is an order, it's a matter that we should not forget once more ... everyone shall worship," El-Sisi then replied.  

The commander said that a plan for a church in Ahalina 2 will be implemented though.

El-Sisi said on several occasions that Egypt was determined to go ahead with plans to build churches in new neighbourhoods.

Article 64 of the Egyptian constitution stipulates the freedom of religious practice and the right to build places of worship for the followers of the Abrahamic faiths: Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

In 2016, El-Sisi ratified a law that speeds up the licensing process for building churches.

Prior to the 2016 law, the Egyptian Coptic Christians, who make up an estimated 10 percent of the country's 100 million population, had long struggled to obtain building permits for churches, with the process often taking years.

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