A court in Alexandria has blocked the demolition of a church and in doing so set an important legal precedent.
The case arose out of a land dispute as to who owned the property the church was built on. However, the Egyptian court not only blocked the demolition of this particular church building, but also established a wider legal precedent that effectively banned other churches from being either destroyed or converted for other uses.
Until recently Egyptian Christians needed special permission from the president to repair churches, which was extremely difficult to obtain. To add to these difficulties many churches were destroyed by Islamists after the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted from power in 2013.
However, what is significant about this new court ruling was that the court interpreted “sharia” to mean that it was forbidden to destroy any church building. The ruling reflects the new Egyptian constitution introduced in 2014 after the overthrow of President Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government.
Although this stipulates that the principles of sharia are the main sources of the constitution, it also states that the actual interpretation of those principles should be done by the Supreme Constitutional Court. After consulting Al Azhar University, the court ruled that churches could not be demolished because the Supreme Constitutional Court “equates the mosque and the church as houses of worship.”
The ruling is a further encouragement for Egyptian Christians after President al Sisi promised in January this year to rebuild and repair all churches that had been destroyed in the 2013 violence.
- Give thanks for this court ruling, and the protection that it gives for Churches and Christians across Egypt.
- Pray that Christians will continue to see their right for freedom of worship upheld in Egypt, as has been promised by the president.
- Pray for Egypt, as it has seen a recent upsurge in violence against Christians and churches, and also against foreign tourists. Pray for peace in this nation, and protection from Islamist groups that seek to bring harm.
- Pray for a move of the Holy Spirit in Egypt, for many to encounter Christ in life changing ways.
Matthew 16 vs 18: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”