Problems on hold
On 3 November 2019, the Prime Minister issued Decision 35 for 2019 which conditionally approved the legalisation of a new batch of unlicensed churches and Church affiliated buildings. This batch is the 11th to be approved, and comprises 64 churches and Church affiliated community centre buildings from among the 3730 that had applied for legality according to the 2016 Law for Building and Restoring Churches. The Cabinet had been looking into theses cases since 28 September 2017, the deadline set be the law for submitting applications for legalisation.
Before the 2016 law was passed, it was next to impossible for Copts to obtain official licence to build or restore a church and, given the dire need for churches in view of the growing Coptic population, Copts resorted to building churches without licence. The 2016 law made provision for legalising already-existing unlicensed churches and Church affiliated buildings.
The 11th batch recently approved for legalisation includes 64 churches and affiliated buildings, bringing the total number of approvals up to 1235. This means that the Cabinet has completed 33 per cent of its task, and still has to look into the remaining 67 per cent. Since one third of the charge was completed in 25 months, does this mean we would need 50 more months to complete the entire mission? With a twist, the Egyptian folk saying goes: “So little is over, so much lies ahead!”
1 December 2019