Egypt legalizes 80 unlicensed churches countrywide

Egypt legalizes 80 unlicensed churches countrywide

Christians, mainly Coptic Othodox, account for some 15 million of Egypt’s 97.5-million-strong population

CAIRO (AA) - The Egyptian authorities on Monday legalized 80 Christian churches and church buildings that had previously lacked government licenses.

The announcement was made following a meeting between Prime Minister Mustapha Medbouli and a committee formed in 2016 to promote the legalization of unlicensed churches.

In a statement, the government said that the move had brought the total number of churches and affiliated church buildings to have been officially legalized since February to 588.

According to a report released by a local NGO earlier this year, Egypt’s three main churches -- Coptic Orthodox, Evangelical and Catholic -- have submitted 3,730 applications to the government for the legalization of unlicensed churches across the country.

Christians, mainly Coptic Orthodox, account for roughly 15 million of Egypt’s 97-million-strong population, according to 2015 estimates.

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