If you've followed this story (really the story of all of the Muslim countries that don't ban construction outright) you know that requests to build churches in Egypt often sit in local government offices for years. In frustration Christians will build churches or rent space for worship anyway only to have the buildings torn down or shuttered. This is a united Christian effort to demand a real timeline on government response to new church construction requests.
Cairo (All Africa) - Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical leaders have signed a bill approving church construction and restoration in the country.
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Magdi al-Agati said August 11 that Egypt's Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical leaders signed the bill in front of Bishop Paula of Tanta, Head of the Coptic Orthodox Council for Marital Affairs.
"The law sets a four-month deadline for governors to respond to any request for a license to build a church," Agati said in a press statement.
He added that the bill would be discussed within the week during a cabinet meeting before it is submitted to the State Council and then to parliament for final approval.
The country follows the Islamic Law of Classical Islam back from the era of the Ottoman Empire in 1856 that made it difficult for Egyptian Christians to build their own church buildings.
Former Interior Minister Mohamed Ezaby Pasha also made the situation worse in 1934 by adding 10 more conditions in order to grant building permits for churches.
The signing of the law also came just after Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, the 63-year-old leader of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, met with members of parliament last month.
"We will not accept the control of a particular party over the construction of churches in Egypt, and the current law had been in force since the era of the Ottoman Empire," the Coptic Pope told the lawmakers.