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ICC NOTE: Even when Christians go through the correct channels to get permission to build churches, it can literally take years.

August 8 2006

For the full article: Pakistan Christian Post

Church opening blocked by authorities in Egypt

Local authorities in Sheikh Zied City , 15 km north of Cairo are opposed to a newly built church and have gone to extreme lengths to disrupt the official opening.

Prayers of dedication for the church were due to be held in early July at an official celebration of the church’s opening; however on that very day the authorities cut off the electricity and water to the building and even barricaded all the roads leading to the church. Each road had a deep trench dug across it with a correspondingly high bank alongside.

The congregation had decided to construct a building which looked like an office on the outside, though like a church on the inside. This decision had been reached because they were aware that it would be extremely difficult for them to get official authorisation through the correct channels.

In addition to the normal permission, Egyptian law requires presidential approval to build a new church. This comes from a nineteenth century Ottoman regulation, and is known as the Hamayouni Decree. It is a slow bureaucratic process, which can take many years, and does not always result in success. To repair or renovate a church permission must be sought from local governors.

While this is less bureaucratic local governors are more prone to prejudice against Christians.

The Church in Egypt is often faced with the dilemma of either not applying for official permission, or having no building at all.

PRAY

Pray that the local authorities will have a change of heart and allow the building to function as a church.

Pray for a change in the restrictive law governing church buildings to enable Christians to erect the churches they need.