ICC Note: The Egyptian Parliament is discussing a proposal for the construction of churches in the predominantly muslim nation. Christians hope this will ease the administrative and tangible hurdles they face when trying to build a house of worship. The bill includes 13 articles that define a “church” and different ways to address building issues with local authorities. It is an ongoing debate in Egypt, though, the passing of such a bill could mean great forward progress on the country’s religious inequality gap.
05/23/2016 Egypt (World Watch Monitor):Once again the Egyptian Parliament is considering a proposal on the construction of churches that Christians hope will narrow the country’s religious inequality gap.
The House of Representatives was presented earlier this week with the draft law on the issue. Holding its first inaugural session in January this year, it aims to discuss and comment on the new priority legislation within coming weeks, says Catholic news agency Agenzia Fides.
The bill consists of 13 articles, defining a “church” and describing mechanisms to address building issues with local authorities. The draft hopes to recognise Bishops’ right to appeal to a higher government body about delays and to impose a limit of 60 days for a decision to be taken.
“Today, the nature of attacks goes beyond mob riots or local authorities’ intransigence.”
An on-again-off-again approach has so far characterised the issue, bogging Christians down in a maze of administrative complications.
The construction of each new church typically had to be authorised directly by the Egyptian President, although attempts have been made to grant church-building permits from governors and the security authorities.
It is hoped the new bill will remove a host of hurdles by establishing local authorities as the sole arbiters for screening and approving church construction.