By Coptic Solidarity –
(Washington, DC) August 4, 2016
The 2014 Egyptian Constitution includes a provision stating that the Parliament was to pass a bill in its first legislative session to regulate the construction and repair of churches. Despite various ideas bandied about, a specific bill has yet to be discussed and passed by the Parliament.
Draconian stipulations, related to the historical condition of Dhimmitude, make construction or even renovation of a church in Egypt a near impossibility, requiring authorization by a presidential decree. Over the past decades, the number of new churches averaged a paltry two churches per year. In spite of the growth in the number of Copts over the years, the total number of the churches of all denominations does not exceed 2,600, or about one church for every 5,500 Christian citizens.
Not only is this an issue of insufficient places of worship for Egypt’s Christians, but it has become a flashpoint and a cause for repeated violence by fundamentalist Islamists against the Copts who dare exercise their basic right of freedom to worship and practice their religion, and demonstrates the extent of discrimination endured by Copts in Egypt which has escalated lately to an almost daily occurrence.
It is incumbent upon the Egyptian Parliament to rectify this urgent problem. It is equally essential to break away from the historical conditions of Dhimmitude which considers Egypt’s Copts second-class citizens in their own country simply because of their religious beliefs.
Coptic Solidarity president, Dr. George Gurguis says,
We strongly believe that the Egyptian Parliament has an historical opportunity and the responsibility to pass a law that will rectify the current untenable situation, affirm equality and freedom of religion for all, and abandon the historically systematic discrimination against Copts.
In an effort to create awareness and ensure justice and equality before the law, Coptic Solidarity has issued a paper summarizing the historical background of church construction laws in Egypt the current crisis and offers specific recommendations for the new bill which will ensure an equitable, just, and lasting solution for this problem.
Coptic Solidarity urges the Egyptian Parliament to follow these recommendations while drafting a new law regulating church construction, renovation and repair.
Coptic Solidarity is an organization seeking to help minorities, particularly the Copts, of Egypt and we support those in Egypt working for democracy, freedom, and the protection of the fundamental rights of all Egyptian citizens. It advocates in cooperation with the affiliated organizations in Canada and in Europe (Solidarité Copte). For more information, contact Lindsay Vessey at 801-512-1713 or firstname.lastname@example.org