A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, October 28, 2013

Egypt to Drop Limits on Building of Churches?

The 50-member committee drafting Egypt's new constitution has reportedly dropped all barriers to the building of new churches in Egypt. If this eventually makes it through, a big if, it would mark a major development and a breakthrough long sought by the Copts. Every new church built in Egypt previously had to be approved by the President personally, and while this was liberalized a bit in the later Mubarak years, it has been a major cause for complaint.

The same article, though, notes that action was deferred on a clause that would absolutely guarantee freedom of worship. Al-Azhar is apparently holding it up, insisting that the freedom be limited to the three "heavenly" (Abrahamic) religions. That restriction, previously in place, has frequently been used against Egypt's small Baha'i community.

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