Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Constitution committee eliminates all barriers to building churches, stipulates "absolute freedom of belief" for Egyptians

As Robert Spencer notes in his introduction to this article, "Islamic law forbids Christians to build new churches or repair old ones. This is, therefore, a strong and welcome rejection of Sharia."

Ahram Online via Jihad Watch — 10/27/2013

Egypt's 50-member committee tasked with amending the suspended 2012 constitution adopted on Sunday a transitional article that will cancel existing restrictions regulating the building of new churches.

According to Ahram Arabic news website, the committee also initially adopted an article [47] which stipulates "absolute freedom of belief" for Egyptian citizens and endows the state with the responsibility to ensure free practice of religion.

However, under pressure from representatives of Egypt's highest Sunni authority Al-Azhar, which has demanded that freedom of religion be restricted to the three monotheistic beliefs, the committee opted to postpone its vote on article 47 until Monday.

Sources at the meeting told Ahram that representatives of the church, who have until now strongly supported complete freedom of religion, sided with Al-Azhar's objection.

Christians, who make up 10 to15 percent of Egypt's 85 million, need special presidential permits in order to build or renovate churches in Egypt.

Supporters of equal rights for all citizens have long demanded the freedom to build and renovate churches without restraint in order to ensure parity between Egypt's religions.

Islamic extremists have attacked tens of churches, destroying many, in the past 15 years....