A memorandum proposing nine amendments to legislation of unifying regulations on places of worship was submitted to the cabinet and ruling military council by Bishop Moussa, the Orthodox Church’s bishop for youth, on Saturday.
The amendments included authorizing local councils to issue licenses for places of worship.
Moussa called for canceling the legislation’s second article, which he said is incompatible with the freedom of belief and the freedom to practice religious rituals. He proposed adding a paragraph stipulating that the distance between two places of worship belonging to the same religion or denomination should not be less than 1000 meters.
He also called for canceling provisions related to building on disputed lands. The provisions, he said, could be used as an excuse to halt construction. He also proposed stipulating that the area of places of worship be 200 square meters instead of 1000 square meters.
Regarding the provision banning construction of places of worship beneath or above buildings, Moussa said it should be taken into consideration that some families hold prayers in their houses, which may expose them to legal liability. He proposed removing the reference to prison sentences for license-related violations, saying fines ranging between LE5,000 to LE50,000 are sufficient.
Moussa also called for adding an article that would allow clinics and venues for special occasions to be attached to places of worship.