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12/21/2018 Egypt (International Christian Concern) –  Earlier this month, ICC reported how the Christians in Upper Egypt’s village of Kom al-Raheb were targeted by mob violence because they were praying in a new church building. A reconciliation session was later held. According to the agreement, the building must be kept closed until it receives a license, anyone who participates in future violence will be fined LE1 million, and everyone arrested will be released.

Mada Masr has released a report detailing how the 2,500 Christians in Kom al-Raheb have waited for 17 years for the church license to come through. The new law passed in 2016 was supposed to speed up the process for churches in this situation. However, the law also included a provision which said that applications for legalization can be denied if there are security concerns.

Two trends have evolved since the 2016 law’s passage. The first is the indefinite closure of churches because of security concerns. Hardline extremists are aware that even raising the possibility of attacking a church can close it indefinitely. The second trend, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, is that Christians can now face a criminal charge of “praying without a permit.”

For interviews with Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: