THE first application for a new church has been submitted under a new Egyptian law that is intended to help facilitate the building and renovating of churches.
The law, passed at the end of August, removes red tape, and orders local governors to pass a decision on a building application for a church within four months. If the application is rejected, they have to give clear reasons for doing so. Though there have been criticisms that some of the legal clauses are too vaguely worded, the Coptic Catholic Church has welcomed the new law.
“There’ve been some criticisms, but the government has tried to resolve any problems, and we now have a law which meets modern needs,” a spokesman for the Coptic Catholic Church, Fr Rafic Greiche, said.
A Muslim MP has now submitted the first request under the law for a new church to be built in a village in the Assiut Governorate, in the birthplace of the late Coptic Orthodox Pope, Shenouda III.
The independent MP, El-Badri Ahmed Deif told journalists he “wanted it recorded in history that a Muslim was the first to submit a request for building a church in Egypt after the passing of the new landmark law”.