04/21/2019 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – The final draft of Egypt’s proposed amendments to the 2014 Constitution was approved by Parliament on April 16th. Egypt is now in the process of holding a referendum on the proposed constitutional changes, which are expected to pass and strengthen President Sisi’s power.
The government has emphasized that these constitutional changes protects the rights of Christians, but a closer look at the final language of the proposed amendments say otherwise. The only language regarding Christians says in Article 244 that “the state shall guarantee that youth, Christians, the physically challenged and Egyptian expatriates are fairly represented in line with laws regulating this aspect (adequate representation).”
This language is in itself problematic, as the population of Christians is considered a state secret and thus it is impossible to ascertain what fair representation looks like for believers. Most Egyptian Christians live in the Minya Governorate, where they are believed to represent nearly 50% of the population. The proposed constitutional changes also ignores other challenges Christians face, such as being treated as second-class citizens and difficulties at getting new churches approved.
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