Church-Building Law Denounced in Egypt

Christian leaders and human rights groups in Egypt are raising serious concerns about a law that would govern the construction of churches and mosques. The proposed law would place the power to permit or deny building in the hands of local communities, a decentralized system that critics argue places the Christian minority at a distinct disadvantage. “The bill before us now utterly fails to dispel the foundations of prejudice experienced by religious minorities, particularly Copts, who had hoped to see the institution of licensing procedures...made identical to those governing construction by their Muslim peers,” the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies wrote in a statement calling for the bill to be withdrawn. In a joint statement, the Egyptian Coptic, Anglican and Catholic Churches also expressed their disapproval of the current draft. Among the bill’s controversial items is a stipulation that a new church or mosque could not be built within one kilometer of an existing place of worship, a requirement that Christians say would make it nearly impossible to build in densely populated neighborhoods.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

(CNS photo/Michael Roytek, courtesy Boy Scouts of America)
Archbishop Pierre said the Scouts are called to be "leaven" in a world today that "is plagued by isolation, selfishness and individualism. In contrast, Scouts know something about being together, including others, and teamwork."
It’s not just for the family. It’s for you.
Margot PattersonJuly 28, 2017
Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, pictured in an early January photo, has become increasingly outspoken as the Nov. 8 election approaches and has urged the nation to embrace religious diversity. (CNS photo/Lynn Bo Bo, EPA)
Cardinal Bo believes the establishment of diplomatic relations between Myanmar and the Holy See could “help build up Myanmar as a democracy and contribute to peace building in the country.”
Gerard O'ConnellJuly 28, 2017
The issue of America dated March 9, 1957, includes an article written by a young second lieutenant assigned to a U.S. Army anti-aircraft battalion in West Germany.
Matt Malone, S.J.July 27, 2017