Middle East

Egypt Finally Permits Another Church Building (But 149 More Still Pending)

Why did President Mohamed Morsi choose to approve his first church permit now?

(WWM) Seventeen years have elapsed since the Coptic Church first requested permission to build a church in the town of Nubaria, Northern Egypt.

Last Friday, their wish was granted. But not all Egyptian Christians are lining up to thank President Mohamed Morsi for passing the first decree of its kind during his tenure.

While Father Makari Habib, secretary of Pope Tawadros II, the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, thanked the President for allowing the construction of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in the Beheira governorate, others say the decision was politically motivated.

"Copts aren't overjoyed with Morsi licensing St. Peter and St. Paul's because they know it's a political ploy to give a semblance of religious tolerance," Samia Sidhom, managing editor of Egypt's Watani newspaper, told World Watch Monitor.

"The problem is not about getting one church licensed; it's about the dozens of others that have not been licensed. Copts have to go around the law all the time to ...

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