Mosques and churches in Cairo - Creative Commons
CAIRO - 31 December 2019: The committee in charge of legalizing the status of unlicensed churches in Egypt chaired by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli on Tuesday approved legalizing the status of 90 churches and affiliated service buildings nationwide.
The meeting was attended by the ministers of justice, local development, housing and House of Representatives affairs and representatives of various Christian denominations in Egypt, according to a statement issued by Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad.
At the beginning of the meeting, Madbouli wished all Egyptians a happy New Year and extended Christmas greetings to Christians in the country and the whole world.
The approvals take the number of churches that adjusted their status in Egypt up to 1,412 the statement reported.
The Cabinet’s decision to legalize churches comes according to 2016's article number 80 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.
Unlicensed places of worship are spread across the country and the state has been making endeavors to resolve that problem. For mosques, the Ministry of Endowments has been trying to legalize such places and ensure prayers are led by licensed preachers. In 2014, the number of unlicensed mosques was estimated at 30,000.