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  • Thursday ,18 August 2016
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About the law of building churches

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00:08

Thursday ,18 August 2016

About the law of building churches

Copts have been waiting for long time to have a law for building and renovation of churches instead of the Ottoman Hamayouni decree issued in the mid-nineteenth century that made it very hard to build and renovate a church. Finally, Coptic churches and the government agreed on the draft of the law. 

Unfortunately, the law only targeted churches instead of a unified law for houses of worship including mosques. Article No. 64 of the Egyptian Constitution states that freedom of belief and worship are granted and building houses of worship is right for Muslims, Christians and Jews. 
 
The draft should be discussed and passed by the house of representatives as stated in Article 235 of the constitution.
 
However, the law came to discuss building churches only which contradicts with the constitution since it differentiates between Egyptian citizens based on their religion.
 
The current draft of the law was criticized by many people including MPs, activists and public figures who said that its articles are not defined clearly, and many people announced their support for the law as well. I think that the law should have been discussed on wider scale away from the clergy and should have been drafted by law experts. They should have considered the bills offered by several political parties and movements.
 
The law was criticized for being unspecific when talking about the criteria of building a new church. The draft said the church should have fence around the buildings, which may prevent building small chapels in villages. Furthermore, the draft is still demanding the governors to get the approval of police which means nothing has changed!
 
The recent draft of the law of building churches will not solve the problem of building churches or reduce the sectarian clashes because of them. The Egyptian people have to release the meaning of equal citizenship and the freedom of worship. This requires many efforts to teach coexistence and tolerance. We should put an end to customary reconciliation sessions and enforce the law. We have to replace hatred with love and tolerance and teach the fanatics to respect human rights! This can only be achieved by the renewal of religious discourse. 
 
The Christians are only asking for places to pray to God for salvation and peace of the world. They ask God for mercy and for the government and for all people. Yet, the government refuses to all Coptic Christians to build churches to pray. Let God help them and fulfill his promise to bless his people in Egypt.