Egypt: New Law to Remove Restrictions on Church Buildings

Sunday, November 2, 2014

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

CAIRO (Worthy News)-- A proposed law to remove restrictions on the building of churches in Egypt will be presented to parliament early next year, according to Barnabas Aid.

Ibrahim Henaidi, Egypt's Minister of Transitional Justice, told reporters last month that a committee comprising church representatives and government officials would discuss the new bill before its presentation.

Parliament is expected to vote on the bill in early 2015.

Under Egypt's new constitution, parliament is required to "issue a law aimed at regulating the construction and restoration of churches in a way that ensures that Christians perform their religious rites freely".

In Egypt, a church cannot be built within 100 meters of a mosque and Christian congregations must get permission to erect, renovate or even repair a church building under legislation that goes all the way back to the Ottomans. Previously, permission could only be obtained from Egypt's head of state, but though former President Hosni Mubarak delegated this authority to regional governors, the application process can take years to complete.