Egypt Issues Permits for 168 New Churches

Egypt Issues Permits for 168 New Churches

Saturday, 1 December, 2018 - 10:00
Women pass by a Coptic church in Tanta, Egypt, April 10, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Cairo - Waleed Abdul Rahman
Egypt announced on Friday legalizing up to 168 churches and monasteries with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly affirming that the process will be timely.

Despite the committee headed by Madbouly, who is also the country’s Housing Minister, approving the legalization of 168 churches and buildings, only 151 applications have received permits so far, with the body requiring additional documents for the remaining 17.

Madbouly instructed concerned officials to set a time frame, during which churches and buildings that meet the conditions of Law No. 80 of 2016 will be finalized.

To date, the committee has legalized a total of 508 churches and buildings since its founding.

In a meeting attended by ministers of justice, antiquities, and parliamentary affairs, as well as other concerned authorities, the legalization committee reviewed studies carried out over the past two months on the conditions of the churches that have requested legalization.

Madbouly urged relevant authorities to submit a follow-up report to the committee’s next meeting on the findings of smaller governorate-specific commissions formed by the PM to follow up on church legalization.

These smaller commissions include representatives of NGOs, Christian sects, and other relevant authorities.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Ministry of Higher Education denied reports on the government moving towards privatizing university hospitals before first implementing a new comprehensive health insurance law.

The Ministry, in a Friday statement, confirmed that university hospitals will remain state owned and stressed that they will continue to provide medical and health services to citizens free of charge.

As for reported rumors on state bureaus imposing a new registration fee of 2,000 Egyptian pounds (approximately $111) for marriage contracts, Egyptian authorities denied the news, saying the Justice Ministry has stressed that fees remain unchanged.

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