Egypt: New Law Restricts Church Construction
Amanda Casanova | Religion Today Contributing Writer | Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Egyptian officials passed a law this week regarding rules for building a church, but critics are worried the law isn’t enough to protect Christians.
In the past, local authorities have often blocked building permits for new churches and Christians have illegally built buildings, which have then been attacked by Muslims. Comparatively, building a mosque faces fewer restrictions.
Christians had hoped that a law passed by Egyptian lawmakers would create more rights to build, but under the law passed Tuesday, Christians must apply to the local provincial governor when they want to build a church.
According to ABCnews.com, “the size of the church must be ‘appropriate’ to the number of Christians in the area.” The governor will also take into consideration “the preservation of security and public order” when considering the building permit.
“The church and the government reached a reconciliatory agreement. Thank God we have this law now,” said Father Sergius, a top official in the Coptic Church.
Another Christian lawmaker, Nadia Henary said the law has flaws, but that “we have to respect the opinion of the majority. I am a daughter of the Church and I respect the priests and the Church leadership.”
According to Egypt’s state agency, the law passed with two-thirds of the lawmakers.