Committee: More places of worship should be allowed in dense urban areas

For every 50 families that belong to the same religious denomination, each should have the right to their own place of worship, an Egyptian government committee has declared.

The National Justice Committee submitted six recommendations to the cabinet on the issue, committee member Amir Ramzy told Al-Masry Al-Youm Tuesday.

The committee stressed municipal authorities' responsibility for granting licenses for the construction of prayer facilities, given governors' failure to handle such issues properly, Ramzy said.

He said the committee recommended that local authorities should respond to any licensing request within 60 days, instead of three months, and that licensing requests should be for major structural changes rather than minor renovations.

Currently unlicensed places of worship must be made legal by a cabinet decree before the proposed law on places of worship is enacted, Ramzy said.

In June, the Egyptian government approved a draft law regulating the building of worship places, and opened it up for public debate before giving final approval.

But Egypt's Coptic Orthodox and Catholic churches, in addition to Al-Azhar, have voiced reservations over the bill. Last week, the Coptic Church said the government had accepted four of its reservations.

It said the cabinet agreed to cancel one of the bill's controversial provisions, which stipulated that the distance between places of worship for people of the same denomination should not be less than 1000 meters.

The National Justice Committee's recommendation also supports canceling this provision, as it would deprive hundreds of families of their own prayer facilities, especially in heavily populated areas.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

Related Articles

Back to top button