In Egypt, churches must apply for legal status for their buildings, which in the past had to be approved by the security agencies.
However, under the Church Construction Law, which was approved by the Egyptian Parliament on 30 August 2016, the power to approve the building and renovation of churches was extended to provincial governors.
CSW says that while the new law made the process less complicated, the legislation remains discriminatory as the same requirements do not apply to Sunni Muslim houses of worship. Other Muslim communities, the human rights entity says, are also not covered by the Law.
The UK-based human rights foundation, which champions for religious freedom across the world also reported the April 23 release of nine Coptic Christians who had been arrested for protesting to demand the rebuilding of a church that had been destroyed.
Mounir Samir Mounir, Raymond Mamdouh William, Jaid Saad Zekry, Milad Mahrous Tawfiq, Abanoub Magdy Semaan, Gerges Samir Gerges, Shenouda Salib Hosni, Mina Salib Hosni, and Milad Reda Tawfiq Ayyad were provisionally arrested on 30 January 2022 after taking part in protests demanding permission to rebuild St. Joseph and Abu Sefein Church in Ezbat Farajallah village in Minya Governate, which CSW reports was “burnt down in suspicious circumstances” in 2016.
The release of the nine men occurred on the same day that 41 political activists were released from pre-trial detention, and days after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi stated that Egypt needed to engage in “political dialogue,” CSW says in the April 27 report.
The foundation’s Founder President lauded the release, and the legalization of churches in Egypt, saying, “CSW welcomes the news of the legalization of more churches, the release of the nine Christians, who we hope have been freed unconditionally, and the release of the 41 activists.”
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.
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