In April, it was reported that 74 applications had been approved, legalising unlicensed churches across Egypt. After the government committee met again on 19 May, a further 70 churches have been legalised, bringing the total to 1,638 since the committee was formed in January 2017. This leaves 2,000 further applications remaining for consideration.
Despite the positive action demonstrated by the government, local authorities in some areas continue to create problems. On 20 May, local authorities in Koum Al-Farag demolished a church building in response to sectarian protests. The one-story building had served as a place of worship for 15 years.
A few years ago, local Muslims constructed a mosque next door in an attempt to prevent the church building from being approved under the ongoing legalisation process. When the church building was recently expanded to accommodate a growing congregation, tensions broke out between Christians and Muslims in the area. To prevent further escalation, local authorities demolished both the church building and the mosque. Fourteen Christians were arrested when they attempted to stop the destruction.
Sources: Egypt Independent, Christian Post, Christian Solidarity Worldwide
- Thank God for the progress demonstrated by the Egyptian government in its endeavours to grant official approval despite the backlog of applications. Pray that the process will continue favourably.
- Pray for the people of Koum Al-Farag, as well as others who are facing sectarian tensions in their communities. Ask the Lord to bring His peace through the believers.
- Pray that He will give wisdom to the authorities as they work to resolve the issues underlying the tensions.
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