By Sharona Schwartz
Just three months after the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi, it appears Egyptian authorities are taking a big step toward protecting the freedom of worship for the nation’s Christian community by lifting major restrictions on the construction of new churches.
Ahram Online reports that the committee working on amending the suspended 2012 constitution on Sunday (Oct. 27) adopted a transitional article that will nullify current restrictions on the construction of new churches. The 50-member committee adopted another article calling for “absolute freedom of belief” for all Egyptians.
To now, Christians — who comprise an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the population — have been required to obtain special presidential permits to construct or renovate churches. There is no parallel law regulating the construction of mosques.
International Christian Concern writes of the proposed amendment, “This development would mark a major change on Egypt’s historical stance towards the construction of new churches and religious freedom. Please pray that this measure is written into law.”
Senior officials with Al-Azhar, the nation’s highest Sunni Muslim authority, are demanding that freedom of religion be restricted to the three monotheistic faiths.