A sweeping move by Egyptian authorities is being celebrated by religious rights activists. A government committee has approved 127 churches which were previously being run in an illegal capacity under the country’s religious laws.
A law passed in 2016 hoped to speed up the process of legalization, with thousands of churches being built without a permit and operating in fear of government reprisals.
Prior to the law being passed, it was notoriously difficult to approve state approval and, therefore, congregations could find themselves at risk of prosecution.
While the committee still has many churches to legalize, this is a promising start for a country in which Coptic Christians have faced fierce levels of violence and persecution for decades.
According to Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA, the country’s Christians still face daily persecution from groups within the Islamic-majority population, as well as mistreatment from the government itself.
The Islamic culture “fuels discrimination and creates an environment causing the state to be reluctant to respect and enforce the fundamental rights of Christians,” Open Doors explains on its Egypt fact page.
The country is currently sitting at number 16 on the World Watch List — a ranking of the harshest environments on earth in which to live as a follower of Jesus.
The 127 churches will now be able to operate without fear of government regulation or intimidation.
–CBNews and Metro Voice