A committee formed by Egypt’s cabinet tasked with legalising the status of unlicenced churches approved on Tuesday the legalisation of 82 churches and service buildings that had been operating without a permit.
According to a statement by the cabinet, this brings the total number of licenced churches to 1,494.
During the committee meeting on Tuesday, the cabinet also reviewed the security requirements for legalised churches.
Christians make up a minority in Egypt’s population, a predominantly Muslim country.
In January 2017, the cabinet decided to form a committee for church conciliation to work according to the new law. The 10-member committee comprises one Christian representative, six government officials from several ministries, representatives from the national security apparatus, the intelligence apparatus, and the Administrative Control Authority (ACA).
Before the approval of church construction law in 2016, the law regulating construction of churches was based on the Ottoman Empire’s Hatt-I humayun document stipulated a rigorous system for approval to build a new church.
However, the recent law solved all these obstacles, and attempts to license churches built years ago, in coordination between the two sides, security, and churches were finally possible.