27 April 2017
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas




  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia


  • » 01/29/2015, 00.00

    EGYPT - ISLAM

    For Catholic Church spokesman, al-Sisi's Egypt is more liberal on new churches and freedom of expression



    The government has issued construction permits for a new church in New Cairo and two in Upper Egypt. Some permit applications go back 8-10 years. Mubarak never favoured church construction. After the elections, the new parliament is required to upgrade legislation governing the construction of places of worship. Representatives of Christian Churches drafted the bill. A Christian family law is also on the drawing board.

    Cairo (AsiaNews) - Things are much better under President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi compared to the Mubarak regime, said Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for Egypt's Catholic Church. The recent decision to grant three churches a building permit and the greater freedom of speech seen in newspapers and television are signs of the improvement, Fr Greiche told AsiaNews.

    Egypt's current law on church construction dates back to the Ottoman period. "Some permit applications to build new churches date back to the days of Mubarak, but he never granted them." Even when all the requirements were met (minimum congregation size, distance from mosques, smaller building and non-visibility), Mubarak allowed applications to pile up.

    "Now the government has decided to speed up issuing permits for existing applications," Fr Greiche said. "A permit has already been granted for the construction of a church in New Cairo and two in Upper Egypt. These applications date back to 8-10 years ago. Others go back 15 years ago and have not received any answer."

    The most important sign for greater freedom of religion lies in the president's decision to adopt a new law on churches and religious buildings. As part of this, the President's Office called on Church (Coptic Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant) representatives to draft a more modern bill.

    "The project is almost ready," Fr Greiche said. "In the new constitution there is a paragraph that requires the new parliament - which will sit after elections in March - to pass the law within a year. This means that by March 2016, we will have a law on new church construction without the current hassles."

    Another positive sign is the draft bill in the area of Christian family law. "Until now, even Christians were subject to Sharia. At present, the authorities want to value the Christian marriage and recognise it civilly." All these signs show that Egypt's al-Sisi is moving towards a more modern and liberal society.

    Recently, the international community criticised the Egyptian government for cracking down on some demonstrations marking the fourth anniversary of Mubarak's fall. Some 15 people died in the clashes, including some police officers.

    The government blames Islamists for stirring things up in order to undermine state security. Others blame al-Sisi for restricting freedom of expression.

    "You Westerners do not understand the situation," Fr Greiche said. "In Egypt, there is broad freedom of expression. Talk shows and newspapers have a wide margin to criticise the government; no one is gagged." However, "there is a problem with those demonstrations in which activists undermine the security of society and the economy."

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version










    See also

    07/03/2016 16:56:00 INDONESIA
    Bekasi: Islamic extremists demonstrate against the construction of a Catholic church

    Hundreds of people come into the streets against the St Clara community. Some protesters even tried to attack the site of the future church, but police kept them back. Graffiti saying ‘No church construction allowed’ appeared near the site. Local authorities give Catholics a green light to go ahead.



    23/10/2009 INDONESIA
    Bishop of West Java: dialogue on the church of Saint Mary’s. Or legal action
    Bishop Johannes Pujasumarta Pr, Bishop of Bandung, explains that a "constructive dialogue" can achieve a "good solution". The prelate promises a battle and does not exclude the possibility of legal action. Among the reasons that have blocked the construction of the church are protests of "special groups" in the area.

    23/01/2017 16:49:00 EGYPT – ISLAM
    “We shall build the biggest church,” says Al Sisi

    Egypt’s president makes the pledge to Patriarch Tawadros. The Institute for Islamic Legal Research defends the right of Christians to build churches in Muslim countries. However, Copts are still discriminated in society.



    30/04/2009 INDONESIA
    Muslim mayor rescinds construction permit for Protestant church
    Christians in Depok have been trying to build a church for many years. When they were granted a building permit they decided to postpone construction so as not to irk local Muslims. But for the local Christians synod the decision to rescind the permit is “illegal” because the mayor, whom some say has extremist views, cannot revoke it.

    22/10/2014 EGYPT
    Egypt's Holy Family pilgrimage can now be openly (and safely) undertaken
    The Ministry of Tourism and the Coptic Church present a new tourist programme that covers all the sites visited by Joseph, Mary and Jesus during their flight from Herod's persecution. Under the Muslim Brotherhood government, the pilgrimage was stopped. Coptic businessman tells AsiaNews, "for the first time in years we" can "freely express ourselves and our faith, and build a better Egypt, everyone together, Christians and Muslims."



    Editor's choices

    VATICAN-EGYPT
    Pope Francis in a video message: Dear people of Egypt ...

    Papa Francesco

    To mark his upcoming visit to the country (28-29 April), Pope Francis today sent a video message to the Egyptian people. " Our world, torn by blind violence, which has also afflicted the heart of your dear land – needs peace, love and mercy; it needs workers for peace. "


    ISLAM
    The roots of violent Islamism are in Islam, the words of a Muslim

    Kamel Abderrahmani

    After every terrorist attack, there is the tendency to say, "This is not Islam." Yet those criminal acts are justified and inspired by texts that are the reference point for Muslims and Islamic institutions worldwide. There is an urgent need to reform Islam from within, by the Muslims themselves. Coexistence with other religions is the way to remove Islam from sclerosis and stagnation.


    AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!

    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.
     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google









     

    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®