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08/05/2019 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – Some local news in Egypt are reporting a judicial decision which bans the sale or destruction of churches. This kind of ruling, if upheld, would be the first of its kind. Mosques currently have this protection, but the sanctity of churches as a religious site is not holistically recognized in Egypt.

There are little to no restrictions on building mosques in Egypt. Once property is dedicated towards a mosque, it can never have any other purpose. Churches, on the other hand, are tightly regulated. Until 2016, the building of churches was regulated under an outdated Ottoman-era system that effectively prevented churches from ever being legally constructed.

A new law was passed in 2016 which purported to streamline the registration process. However, other than a large cathedral built where no Christians live, no new churches have received permission to build. There is a long waitlist of older churches who want official recognition.

If this new judicial ruling is upheld and these churches are legalized, then their physical presence in villages will be legally permanent. This ruling came in support of the government’s decision to reject the demolition of a church in Beheira Governorate.

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