111 Egyptian Churches Receive Legal Status
On April 8, in an Egypt committee meeting with Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli, 111 churches and church-affiliated buildings received legal, licensed status.
In September 2016, Egypt passed the Law for Building and Restoring Churches. Prior to the initiation of this law, Christians of all backgrounds struggled to officially build or restore their places of worship. This law also created avenues for the legalization of previously unlicensed churches.
Since the law was passed in 2016, there have been 3,730 churches that applied for legality. The most recent round of approvals brings the total approved churches to 894.
However, besides approval by the committee, there are still other qualifications churches must fulfill before receiving full legal status. Churches must comply with the provisions of structural soundness and civil defense and pay the required fees.
Prior to 2016, the Coptic congregation was growing steadily but they were met with barriers as the quality of buildings was declining and could not accommodate their members. Without the legal ability to restore these churches, Christians resorted to building new locations without an official license. The committee seeks to bring all church buildings up to code and legalize their operations. However, with several thousand churches to go, there is much work to be done. Prime Minister Madbouli echoed this on Monday saying that the committee should speed up its work and legalize unlicensed churches as soon as possible.