Report – Prayers Unanswered: Assessing the Impact of Egypt’s 2016 Church Construction Law

Source: POMED

Author(s): Mahmoud Farouk, Amy Hawthorne, Ahmed Rizk

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has promised to improve the situation of the country’s Christians, who by many estimates constitute about ten percent of the population and face pervasive discrimination and intolerance. To date, al-Sisi’s most significant step has been his issuance of the Church Construction and Renovation Law (Law 80/2016) in September 2016. The law was supposed to address the longstanding demands of Egypt’s Christian communities for a more just and streamlined system of obtaining permits to build, renovate, and repair churches. Special restrictions on churches including the need for high-level state permission for building; deference to Muslims’ objections to the presence of churches in local communities; and interference by security agencies have all made it very difficult to build and operate churches in Egypt. One result has been a disproportionately large disparity in the number of Christian and Muslim places of worship.


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