The Cabinet-affiliated committee charged with looking into the status of unlicensed churches to grant them legality has today 12 April 2021 approved legalisation of a new batch of churches and affiliated service buildings.
The new batch comprises 82 churches and affiliated community service buildings, and is the 19th since the committee undertook its task more than three years ago according to the 2016 Law for Building and Restoring Churches.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly presided over the Cabinet-affiliated committee meeting which reviewed the decisions taken during the previous meeting on 29 December 2020. Participating in the meeting were the ministers of justice, local development, housing, and parliamentary affairs; also representatives of the Christian sects in Egypt.
The recent decision brings the number of churches and affiliated community service buildings approved for legalisation up to 1882 out of a total 3730 that had applied for legalisation according to the 2016 law. Legalisation becomes final only when the approved churches comply with provisions of structural soundness and civil defence conditions, and pay the required dues.
Until the Law for Building and Restoring Churches was passed in Egypt in September 2016, it was next to impossible for Copts to obtain official licence to build or restore a church, leading many Copts to term these times “the crisis era”. Copts, who direly needed churches in view of the growing congregation and declining conditions of existing churches, resorted to circumventing the law and building churches without licence. The 2016 law stipulates a straightforward, time limited legal procedure to obtaining license to build or restore a church or affiliated building, and includes provisions for legalising already existing unlicensed churches and Church-affiliated buildings.
According to the Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad, during the meeting Prime Minister Madbouly called the relevant authorities to swiftly complete the procedures of legalising the remaining churches. He also asked the Minister of Local Development to present a report during the next meeting of the committee regarding the churches that were asked to complete the civil safety requirements in order to acquire legality.
12 April 2021