Egypt’s Cabinet has today approved the legalision of the status of a second batch of unlicensed churches and church-affiliated buildings in a number of governorates in Egypt. The legalisation decision includes 102 churches and 64 church-affiliated buildings mostly used as community centres. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Sherif Isamil, and attended by the ministers of housing, justice, antiquities, parliamentary affairs and local development, as well representatives of the authorities concerned. The legalisation decisions are subject to the structural soundness of the buildings as proved by a committee from the building authority, as well as to compliance with civil protection regulations and payment of the required legalisation dues.
The Prime Minister demanded that studies for further legalisations should be speeded up. On 26 February, the Cabinet’s Committee for legalising the status of unlicensed churches had approved legalisation of the first batch of buildings: 53 churches and church-affiliated community service buildings.
Now that 219 buildings have been approved for legalisation, the number of de-facto, non-licensed churches and church-affiliated buildings nationwide that stand in line waiting for legalisation amounts to 3511, belonging to various Christian denominations in Egypt. These churches had been built without licence since, until the Law for Building and Restoring Churches was passed in September 2016, it was next to impossible to obtain official licence to build or restore a church. Copts, who direly needed churches in view of the growing congregation and the declining conditions of existing churches, thus resorted to circumventing the law and building churches without licence. The 2016 law includes provisions for legalising unlicensed churches and church-affiliated buildings.
16 April 2018