74 Christian churches and places of worship have been legally approved in Egypt
According to human rights activists this is a major step forward even if there's more to be done.
Since the introduction of the 2016 law, out of a total of 5,540 requests, 1,568 churches have been legalised, Asia News reported. According to a CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide) activist, this is a positive step by the authorities in the fight against the “historic injustices” that affect Christians. However, more efforts are needed to tackle practices that limit freedom of worship.
In the past, permits were granted by intelligence and security agencies, while today the responsibility for the construction or renovation of buildings is the responsibility of the provincial governors.
Among the main supporters of the norm on places of worship is President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Asia News noted. The head of state has made religious freedom and the defence of Christians one of the slogans of his policy.
In the past, many churches and prayer houses were built spontaneously, without the necessary permits, given that they were difficult to obtain.
Christians (mostly Orthodox Copts) are a substantial minority (10 per cent) in Egypt, in a Muslim majority country of almost 95 million people.
In 2016 and 2017, several violent attacks were carried out against the Christian community.
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