AFRICA/EGYPT - The Coptic Orthodox Synod approves the law on the construction of churches. But there are doubts and disagreements

Saturday, 27 August 2016 oriental churches  


Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - A long-debated draft law concerning the building and restoration of churches was approved in past days. The Cabinet's approval follows a prolonged back and forth between church representatives and the government over the draft.
At the same time, within the Egyptian Christian community there continues to be resentment, so much so that Christian youth groups are mobilizing for a petition (see image) and ask for the text of the bill to be rejected and reformulated before being passed to Parliament for approval, expected in coming days. What seems to be causing doubts and disagreements are the added amendments to the text during the long and laborious preliminary stage, which end up complicating the legislative framework and leave the door open to the maneuvers of those who were determined to maintain the status quo and make in fact the building of new churches impossible. "The situation is still controversial" refers to Fides Anba Antonios Aziz Mina, Coptic Catholic Bishop of Guizeh. The bill, after more than ten drafts, appears full of gaps, and there are too many technical details, allowing anyone to use again pretexts to prevent the construction of new churches.
Many Muslims are criticizing the law, and simply propose that the rules for the construction of mosques are also applied to the construction of Christian places of worship".
The new legislation, in the expectations of the Egyptian Christians, should have led to total dismissal of the so-called "10 Rules" added in 1934 to the Ottoman legislation by the Ministry of the Interior, which prohibited, among other things, to build new churches near schools, channels, government buildings, railways and residential areas. In many cases, the strict application of those rules prevented to build churches in cities and villages inhabited by Christians, especially in rural areas of Upper Egypt. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 27/08/2016)

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