Egyptian court bans construction of party venues next to churches
Ahram Online, , Monday 30 May 2016

An Alexandria administrative court banned on Monday the construction of nightclubs and party halls in close proximity to churches.

The court's decision comes following an earlier closure by Beheira's municipal unit of a party hall overlooking Mary Girgis Church in the city.

In its ruling, the court argued that "Egypt was the cradle of religion… and any act that affects the sanctityof religious practices should be banned."

The court added that such "sanctity" is present in mosques as well as churches, maintaining that they are both houses of worship that enjoy the same protection under the constitution and the law.

The court said that a 1950s ministerial decision mandating that a minimum distance of 100 metres be maintained between such venues and houses of worship was void, as the minister did hold legislative authority.

The court added that no set rule mandating a specific distance should be put in place, and that this is in order to "preserve the dignity" of houses of worship, whether a mosque or a church.

The court also decided to grant the interior ministry the necessary authority to estimate the appropriate distance between houses of worship and party venues to protect "public order" and "morals."