FILE: Cabinet’s meeting on Monday April 8, 2019
CAIRO – 8 April 2019: The committee concerned with legalizing unlicensed churches, headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, announced during a meeting on Monday, April 8 that 111 churches and church-affiliated service buildings will be legalized provided they meet the structural safety requirements. The total number of legalized churches amounts to 894.
The Cabinet’s meeting was attended by Minister of Justice Hossam Abdel-Rahim, Minister of Housing Essam el-Gazzar and Local Development Minister Mahmoud Shaarawy as well as representatives of the concerned authorities.
On March 5, 156 churches and church-affiliated service buildings were announced legalized; the total number of legalized churches amounts to 783.
The Cabinet’s decision to legalize churches comes according to article number 80 of 2016 of the law regulating building churches.
In February 2018, during the term of former Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, it was announced that in accordance with the country’s constitution that adopts “the right to practice religious rites within different worship houses,” approval was given to study the cases of 53 churches along with several affiliated buildings to be officially licensed during the Cabinet’s following meeting.
Several conditions were laid in the statement for the churches to be finally recognized by the government as legal religious buildings.
These conditions include meeting the requirements for civil protection within a period of four months and fulfilling all the state's rights regarding the rationing of the land on which such buildings are built. The approval may be withdrawn if the buildings do not finish civil protection facilities in four months.
On January 9, Egypt’s Ministry of Housing issued a decision to allocate lands to establish 37 churches in various new cities, Walid Abbas, assistant housing minister revealed.
In an interview with Egypt Today, Abbas said that the government’s New Urban Communities Authority ordered allocating lands for 30 churches in different new cities from 2014 to 2017.
He added that the authority also approved establishing seven other churches in new cities in 2018, besides the Church of Nativity, the Middle East’s biggest church that has been inaugurated in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital.