Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail - File photo
CAIRO - 18 April 2018: The Cabinet approved legislation proposed by its committee for legalizing unlicensed churches and services buildings on Wednesday. The legislation is set to legalize 166 churches and buildings across the nation.
The committee was formed by the Cabinet and was assigned to rectify the status of churches that are not yet licensed in accordance with the 2016 law regulating the construction and renovation of churches.
Then-acting PM and current Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly issued a decision to provide all possible means to speed up the procedures for legalizing unlicensed churches nationwide.
Formed in January 2017, the committee was empowered to study and verify applications submitted by Christian congregations to legalize the status of churches and attached places of worship.
According to official statistics from 2011, Egypt has 2,869 churches and over 108,000 mosques.
The Coptic Orthodox Church has collected 2,500 requests from all parishes, all of which meet the requirements, a source from the church stated, pointing out that some date back more than 150 years to the days when Egypt was part of the Ottoman Empire.
Andre Zaki, head of the Evangelical Community in Egypt, stated earlier that the legal committee of the church has submitted 450 requests of unlicensed churches.