Egypt Approves Only a Handful of Permits for Churches Seeking Official Licensing

ICC Note:  Egypt has approved the permits of 53 preexisting churches who were operating without a license. However, many experts have noted that this number is but a small fraction of the total number of churches who made submissions. It is estimated that 3730 churches had made submissions. A law passed in 2016 was publicized as making it easier for churches to go through the official permitting process, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Nearly two years later, only a handful of churches have been licensed and many churches have been forcibly closed by the authorities.

02/28/2018 Egypt (Egypt Independent) –  Prime Minister Sherif Ismail held a meeting with the Ministers of Housing, Justice, Antiquities, Parliamentarian Affairs and Local Development on Monday, approving the legal permission of 53 churches and service buildings to carry out religious rituals according to the constitution’s provisions.

The ministers stated that the cabinet will adopt the decision during a Wednesday meeting, saying that the government will give the churches a four-months-grace period to meet the building requirements of the Civil Protection Authority.

The churches must also pay legalization fees, the statement added.

The meeting reviewed the work of the specialized committee tasked with regulating the statues of unlicensed churches and service buildings nationwide in view of the requirements and rules stipulated by Law No. 80 of 2016 on the organization of buildings and restoration of churches.

The cabinet formed a committee including representatives from different Christian communities to consider the legalization of unlicensed churches in 2017, and review documents and requests for legalizing unlicensed churches, houses of worship and all the places of prayer, since before the adoption of the law on church buildings in 2016.

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