Christian Entity Lauds Legalization of Hundreds of Churches in Egypt

Credit: Christian Solidarity Worldwide

The Egyptian government had granted legal status to 239 churches and other places of worship in the country, a move that Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) terms as a great improvement on the situation of Egypt’s Christian community.

The April 20 decision by the government committee that oversees the legalization of churches in Egypt brings the total number of churches and service buildings legalized in the country to 2, 401.

In a Wednesday, April 27 report, CSW’s Founder President, Mervyn Thomas, commended the committee that is chaired by Egyptian Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, and expressed hope that more negotiations would bring about total freedom of worship in the North African country.

“We commend these efforts by the Egyptian authorities, and the personal commitment of President Sisi to improve the situation of Egypt’s Christian community, as well as to commence political dialogue,” Mr. Mervyn said.

He added, “However, in the interests of justice and parity, we continue to call for the provisions and rights granted to the Christian community to be extended to include religious and belief groups that are currently unrecognized.”


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.

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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.