102 unlicensed Egyptian churches granted legal status
Ahram Online, , Monday 16 Apr 2018


Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail approved on Monday the legalising of 102 churches and 64 church-associated buildings during a meeting with a regulating committee tasked with reviewing and legalising unlicensed churches, MENA news agency reported.

For decades, Egyptians Christians have congregated at unlicensed churches due to the difficulty in obtaining church building licences.

In early January 2018, Egypt's Ministry of Housing issued an order allowing Christians to practice their religious rites at unlicensed churches pending legalisation procedures.

In 2016, the government passed a law easing regulations around obtaining licences for building Christian houses of worship.

Before the law was passed, the country's Christians, who make up an estimated 10 percent of the country's 100 million people, had long struggled to obtain building permits for churches, with the process often taking years.

Monday's decision involves churches across several governorates, but their precise location is not clear.

The committee meeting was attended by Egypt's Minister of Local Development Abu Bakr El-Guindy and officials from other ministries.

PM Ismail called on the committee to continue reviewing more cases to speed up the process.

Ismail added that the committee's work is in line with the 2014 constitution, which guarantees the right to freedom of religious practice for Muslims, Christians and Jews.

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