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Egypt: Christians Eagerly Await Vote on Church-Building Law

Egypt: Christians Eagerly Await Vote on Church-Building Law

Egypt could vote next month on a law that would change the country’s ordinances on church construction.

For years, the country had maintained that anyone who wants to build a Christian church must have the approval of the country’s ruler. Then the country required gaining the approval from local Muslims and making sure the church was built at least 340 feet from the nearest mosque. Churches also cannot be built near schools, canals, government buildings or between residential areas.

According to some reports, in the past 60 years, only two churches a year have been approved, adding up to some 2,600 churches total.

According to World Watch Monitor, Christians then have to meet in house churches or in the overcrowded churches.

But house churches aren’t legal, and just this summer, a mob torched 80 Christian homes after finding out that one of the homes was going to become a house church.

Many of the churches themselves have also been targeted. In 2015, a church in Alexandria was firebombed. In 2013, 52 churches were destroyed and 12 were damaged.

“Please accept our apologies for what happened,” the Egyptian president said after the attacks in 2013. “God willing … by next year there won’t be a single house or church that is not restored. We have taken too long to fix and renovate [churches] that were burned. This year everything will be fixed.”

When Parliament didn’t ease up on church construction legislation in 2014, Parliament agreed to approve a law by this September.

Christians in Egypt make up about 10 to 15 percent of Egypt’s population.


Publication date: August 19, 2016