Egypt Approves Registration of 62 Churches and Church Buildings

January 5, 2021

The Cabinet-affiliated committee responsible for licensing churches in Egypt rounded off 2020 by authorizing 62 new registrations on December 29.

This 18th batch of licenses approved brings the number of churches and affiliated service buildings granted official recognition to 1,800 out of the original 3,730 that applied for registration following the repeal of Ottoman-era restrictions on church buildings.

Some progress was made in granting licenses to Egyptian churches in 2020, despite delays caused by the Covid crisis.

A total of 1,930 churches are still waiting to be granted licenses under the Law for Building and Restoring Churches, introduced in September 2016. The Covid-19 crisis slowed progress in 2020, when only 388 licenses were granted, compared to 785 in 2019.

Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli, who has previously urged the licensing committee to speed up its work to clear the backlog of unlicensed church buildings, ended the video conference meeting by wishing Egyptian Christians a happy Christmas.

A number of churches were already registered before the new law was brought in. It is illegal for Christians to worship in an unlicensed church building in Egypt, but until the committee began work in early 2017, it was extremely difficult to obtain a license.

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